What to do When WFH Has You Feeling Unfocused

change Oct 15, 2020

Working from home instead of the office means trading in one set of distractions for another. How can you stay focused when your kids are bored and Netflix just added your favorite show? Finding ways to keep yourself motivated to balance the demands of work and home is harder than ever. Being pulled in many directions can leave you feeling unfocused.

Remote work has lots of advantages, like greater flexibility and zero commuting time. However, in order to get your work done, it’s important to create a system that keeps you focused and productive.

To conquer that unfocused feeling, create your own structure, something that will help to motivate yourself. Below are some tips that our fearless ladies shared on how they deal with those internal and external distractions. 

Dealing with Internal Distractions:

  1. Think positive. Build your own morale. Think about the things you like about your job. Appreciate the opportunity to do meaningful work that stretches your skills and helps others.

  2. Set goals. Give yourself specific targets to strive for. Know what you want to accomplish each day and over the long term.

  3. Write a list. Use paper and pen or a free app to make a to do list. Block out realistic time for each task.

  4. Schedule your day. Figure out your priorities and the hours when you’re most effective. Devote most of your resources to the activities that create real value.

  5. Designate a workspace. Carving out an area exclusively for work will help you keep your mind on your job. It can be a spare room or one corner in your studio apartment. Also feel free to move your workspace around if possible. For ex: I move my workspace from my dining room table to the living room, to the balcony of my condo. Each has a different view and puts me in a unique mindset.

  6. Reduce discomfort. Pay attention to ergonomics, especially if you’re working at home full-time. Arrange your workspace for maximum efficiency. Ask your employer if they’ll help cover the costs for equipment like headphones to reduce straining your neck during phone calls. I am grateful our company provided a stipend at the beginning of Covid 19 work from home and it helped offset many costs.

  7. Take breaks. You’ll accomplish more if you allow yourself generous helpings of downtime. Try to pause and relax before you feel fatigued.

  8. Move around. Exercise reduces stress and restores your energy. Use some of your break time to stretch and jump rope. Go for a walk or do yoga during your lunch hour.

Dealing with External Distractions:

  1. Ask for support. Let your boss, coworkers, family, and friends know when you need help. Be willing to return the favor when you see them struggling.

  2. Arrange childcare. Finding someone to watch your kids has become more difficult for many parents. Keep in touch with other families to learn about options near you or ask your employer about taking leave if necessary. During Covid-19, creating your community is more important than ever.

  3. Set boundaries. Let others know the hours when you’re available for collaboration and when you need to work without interruptions. Shut your door and turn the volume down on your phone for tasks that require concentration.

  4. Interact with others. On the other hand, socializing is a valuable part of your workday too. Participate in virtual happy hours and stick around to chat before and after video meetings. Develop your virtual media skills, Zoom, Google Hangout, Marco Polo etc.

  5. Play music. This is your chance to control the soundtrack at work. Create a variety of playlists to mask background noise or stimulate creative thinking.

  6. Eat healthy. Your kitchen can be a distraction too. Plan your daily menu in advance around nutritious meals and snacks. It’s easier to turn down junk food when you feel full.

  7. Limit media. Facebook and streaming videos may consume much of your day unless you eliminate such temptations. Find methods that work for you such as turning off notifications or setting time limits on sites where you tend to linger too long.

Develop the communication and organizational skills you’ll need to excel at working from home. You can be a high performer whether you’re sitting in a cubicle or on your patio. Share your best practices with your friends and our Sweet But Fearless community. We want to hear from you!!!