Before COVID-19, studies from the World Economic Forum showed an estimated 7% of the American work force worked from home, amounting to roughly 9.8 million people. The team at Global Workplace Analytics predicts that by the end of 2021 the portion of the workforce based at home the majority of the time could be between 25% to 30%.
Whether working in the office or remotely, concentrating on the tasks at hand can be a challenge, especially with current events affecting so many parts of our lives. As you work from home, here are five ways to stay focused at work.
Clean Your Space.
Sometimes we do it to ourselves and don’t even know it. A messy work area may be a form of self-sabotage. Disorganized spaces can increase our chances of misplacing a vital flash drive. A spilled coffee can ruin an important document. Finding a key receipt may take hours. Seeing all there is to organize and enhancing a sense of being overwhelmed, a chaotic station can increase stress levels. The stress-inducing messiness also applies to your computer desktop and email inbox. Set aside a little time at the end of every day to clean up your physical and virtual spaces, so you can start every work day with a cleaner slate.
Do Not Disturb.
Decreasing your screen time can help improve the quality of the time you spend with loved ones. Reducing interruptions from smart phones can also help you remain productive at work. Turn off notifications from applications that distract you from important matters. Facebook posts, lives replenishing in games, and alerts from your favorite sports teams may be interesting but can put speed bumps in your day, especially if you open the app to read more or play a level. Disable the notifications or consider using the “do not disturb” feature on your phone.
Monitor the Noise Level.
You know best how you’re motivated. Some work well (or even better) with a television or music playing. Others find they need complete silence. If you have control of your work environment, then be sure the noise level is well-suited for you. If you don’t have influence on the surrounding noise and things are too loud, invest in noise-cancelling headphones. Quality headphones with a great playlist can drown out unwanted noice, help keep you focused at work while providing you motivating music to keep you going.
Saw Some Logs.
The ability to focus during the day often depends on the activities of the night before. A restful night’s sleep can lead to a productive day. Your body recharges, and your mind takes a break. Studies also outline the benefits from a brief, midday nap. If you work from home and schedule it your day appropriately, an afternoon siesta may sharpen your focus more than you can imagine. The important thing is to plan a night that leads to a quality sleep.
Use Time Blocks.
You hear the ping and see the preview window pop up on the monitor. A new email. Then another. Then another. Then another… Soon, your day turns reactionary as you reply to one email interruption after another. You’re can end up responding to emails for the majority of the day, ; helping others further their projects sometimes at the cost of your own. If you’re like me, you want to respond quickly so that your inbox doesn’t grow too full. In truth, not every email needs an immediate response. Schedule times when you’ll check your inbox so that the majority of your day is focused on projects that take priority.
Addressing these issues can help stay focused at work, concentrate on your projects, boost your productivity, and increase your opportunities for success!