One of the biggest challenges we are all facing these days is to stay focused while working from home.
We no longer have others helping keep us accountable, the same environment or team members to encourage us, and have all heard stories about how difficult it can be to learn how to manage your kids while in a virtual meeting, making getting our work done that much more difficult.
Personally, one of the biggest changes I experienced during the pandemic is that I moved out of Toronto to Barrie and split up from my roommate.
In the process, I lost both my day to day motivation since we were always side by side pushing each other, and I also lost accountability since we would often chat about what we accomplished at the end of the day, creating pride and motivation to continue to be disciplined each and every day.
As I adjusted to life on my own again, taking on the #75Hard Challenge helped me get out of a funk, however I still found myself getting frequently distracted (often on social media, looking for some form of connection to other people) and had to figure out a few ways to discipline and prioritize my day to day activities.
Reflecting on lessons since I moved, here are my top five tips I have learned about how to focus while working from home.
Turn Off Your Notifications
Specifically, I mean on social media, but consider doing the same for your email and all apps on your phone as well.
Now, yes, I know… you may not be able to do that depending on your job.
But think about it for a minute…. CAN you!?
When I turned off my notifications for all my social media apps on my phone (LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, YouTube, etc.) life got a lot better real fast!
Because you aren’t checking your phone 100x per day! And when you do look at your phone, you have less anxiety to think that you have “several unread messages” to tend to.If you want to improve your ability to focus, turn off your notifications. Click To Tweet
I do have notifications on for my calls, text messages, and What’s App, because for me, I do what to know when someone tries to contact me directly using those methods.
However, I don’t want my social media channels or my email always trying to grab my attention.
If you want to improve your ability to focus, turn off your notifications.
Put Your Phone on Silent
Now again, depending if you are in sales for example, you may not want to turn off your phone.
In sales, you want your phone to ring!
However, guaranteed there are times of the day where you want to focus without interruptions.
Perhaps you can allow some of calls to go to voicemail so you can call them back at a time that is more convenient for you.Put your phone on vibrate or silent to help you stay focused at work and be productive. Click To Tweet
And so, when you combine turning off notifications as well as putting your phone on vibrate or silent, you can leverage these simple strategies to create some quick wins for yourself in managing both your time and mental space to allow you to focus.
Practice a 50 Minute Sprints
I learned this strategy from Taki Moore.
It’s called a 50 minute sprint.
The idea is that you set a timer for 50 minutes to accomplish a specific task, and you have two things going for you.
- You put the pressure on yourself that you have less than an hour to get the task complete.
- You have a 10 minute reward at the end of the sprint to disconnect, step away, and do something else to help you refocus before you begin the next task at hand.
Then ask yourself, what reward would you like to gift yourself when your 50 minute sprint is completed?
Personally, I like to go do a puzzle or go sit outside for 10 minutes. For you, it might mean calling a friend or laying down on the couch for 10 minutes.
Whatever that is for you, a 50 minute sprint can help you focus while working from home.
Another great tip I got from Taki is to go analog and use what’s called a Time Timer.
Frankly, I find this piece of plastic to be ridiculously expensive ($45.53) for how cheap it really is, but honestly, for how much it helps me focus… I do believe it is worth it.
Using a Time Timer for your 50 minute sprint helps you focus with no loud ticking, no distractions, no cell phone to monitor your time, and provides you with a visual representation of your time ticking away to help you be efficient and focused.
It gives you a reason to disconnect from your phone and still have accountability in front of you.
I like to put my cell phone on silent in my drawer while I use my Time Timer to focus for a 50 minute sprint.
I find this to be extremely effective and would highly recommend you give it a try!
Another “hero” that I look up to in my life is Dan Martell.
I met Dan in 2017 at the Archangels Summit when he delivered this keynote about his journey from living in foster homes to building multiple SaaS businesses and becoming a millionaire by age 27.
One of Dan’s most popular personal videos he created is “How I Manage My ADHD Without Medication”.
Then one day I saw on his Instagram that he uses this website called FocusAtWill.com.Music is a #lifehack that can help you stay focused, reduce distractions, and maintain your productivity while working from home. Click To Tweet
Their music is personalized to help you focus, reduce distractions, and maintain productivity when working and studying. It is specifically curated to help you stay focused longer by triggering certain brainwaves and changing at specified intervals along the way.
You definitely don’t need to go this route. You can surely use any music that will help you focus (often music without lyrics is best).
However, after I tried the 7 day trial of FocusAtWill.com, I honestly use this pretty much every single day.
It’s that good!
Personally, I have found that if you combine all five of these tips together at one time, you are set up for one powerhouse of a work session to focus and get your work done.
- Turn off notifications
- Put your phone on silent (and out of sight – like in a drawer)
- Practice a 50 minute sprint
- Go analog (use the Time Timer)
- Leverage music
I find it’s like one of those mad scientist creations that by pairing everything together you can achieve some pretty remarkable results!
At the same time, there are many more tips and techniques you could practice while working from home.
Today, my question for you is, what works for you? What helps you focus while working from home?
When we focus on these small things that make a big difference, we can show up in our life and become a hero in our own movie.
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