If you’re new to the remote lifestyle, you might be asking how to focus when working from home. CoVid 19 has millions of people eschewing the office for remote work. For some, this comes naturally. For others, especially those of us with anxiety, it may seem like a mountain to climb.
The good news is that many millions have succeeded at working from home in the past. When I started working from home a few years back, I worried that my anxiety would prevent me from being able to focus. Luckily, I had a good support system and was able to learn some tricks to keep me on track.
The following are the most effective hacks for how to focus when working from home.
Start with 10 minutes of mindfulness
Mindfulness is a buzzword that you may be getting tired of, but there’s no doubt that it works. It is especially effective at helping with focus even while feeling anxious. This does not mean you need to become a mindfulness master for it to help. Rather, just ten minutes of mindfulness at the beginning of your day is going to make a big difference.
This ten minute session can consist of anything from a body scan to breathing practice to meditation. You can even spend this time mindfully eating breakfast, focusing only on eating. You are going to get distracted, but mindfulness is about pulling your mind back. No matter how successful you are at focusing during these ten minutes, it gives you a consistent start to your work day that is not about rushing to get things done.
Work in periods
My most useful hack for focusing while working from home is incredibly simple. Split your work day into periods of forty-five minutes to an hour. Commit to working throughout each period, then take a break. Even if you don’t feel like you need a break, take it. Working in periods will help you later on in the day, even if you are sure you can work non-stop in the morning.
Something important to remember is that your nine-to-five work day does not usually consist of eight hours of work. You spend time in meetings, transit, and talking to colleagues. An hour working from home may well be a whole lot more productive than an hour at the office. Keep this in mind, as productive hours will tire you out more quickly. Extra productivity should mean you can spend less time working and not that you should try to get more done.
Phone a friend
If you are home alone, the sense of isolation may become difficult to manage. You are used to seeing people all day at work. Even if they are not your friends, any kind of human interaction fulfills a basic need. Loneliness will make it difficult to focus while working and leave you feeling alienated by the end of the day.
Phone a friend or participate in some online forums. One good outcome of this pandemic being widespread is that many people are going through it with you, even if they are not in the same room. They will need someone to talk to as well. Take advantage of some free time to chat with friends. You will find that you actually feel more satisfied by these social connections than usual.
We are all in a somewhat heightened state of anxiety, and focusing while working from home is not going to be a natural transition. Take care of yourself by following the above tips, and you will find your days passing much more easily.