Staying focused while working from home
Since 2016, I've worked for Khatia Communication's clients remotely and mainly from my home office. The experience exceeded my expectations so much that 9-to-5 culture became an unexplainable mystery to me. However, working from home has its challenges. Not only do we occasionally have to fight procrastination, but our home environment can be full of distractions as well. To be productive, we need to focus—so how do we do that?
Love your work
If your job doesn't excite you, think about what you can do about it. Determine whether you don't like what you do, or you only dislike how you do it. Try modifying your work-process to get excited about your tasks again. You should be enjoying the process. Don't worry about the outcomes yet, since they're a natural result of your productive workdays.
On the other hand, if you don't love what you do, perhaps it's time to change jobs or careers. You want to be doing what you love. Find the right job and workplace.
Establish a ritual
Instead of waking up to an alarm and feeling the heavy burden of all your responsibilities before even opening your eyes, establish some rituals that bring you joy and make sense for you. For example, for a long time, I tried to run every morning. It never worked for me. Then I thought, perhaps not all of us have to run in the morning. I've heard about some people in India who sing and pray when the sun rises. Since hearing about this, I've been fascinated with the idea. Perhaps I could be someone who starts her day with singing. I tried it, and voila, it worked! I'm so excited to wake up and do my singing exercises first thing in the morning, and I never miss an opportunity. You could do yoga, take a walk, dance—whatever will enrich your day.
Before you launch your computer and dive deep into the world wide web, let your mind wander. For example, I devote 30 minutes every morning to a combination of planning and journaling. When I'm done, I create a to-do list and prioritize tasks accordingly. I suggest avoiding blocking specific times for each task unless it's an absolute necessity, such as time for an upcoming meeting.
One task at a time
You'll be able to focus on a task better when you don't think continuously and simultaneously about other obligations. Take your time. Now, I don't even remember what's next on my to-do list. Once I finish writing this post, I'll have a look at it, because when I start with my top priority, I have peace of mind that whatever's next can wait. Even a juggler takes one action at a time.
If you're like most people, your environment affects your mood and thought process. A decluttered, dedicated, and inspiring space is a great start for boosting your productivity. When I started Khatia Communication, I went as far as renovating my whole apartment. After a few months, because my business grew, I moved to one of the most gorgeous and modern offices in Georgia. The environment confirmed my vision of my future. I was where I wanted to be. After a year, I bought my dream apartment, and wherever I went, I invested time in designing my workspace. One might say it's a distraction or a time-consuming activity, but I believe it's a process of putting yourself where you want to be. Start by simply drawing your vision. Then, make it happen. For example, this is the space where Kerie Melua can focus and write songs.
The Space.— Katie Melua (@katiemelua) May 29, 2020
This is where I’ve been working on new songs, where I can focus on lyrics and melodies in a private space. pic.twitter.com/XKjJefsAqs
Keep your room temperature fresh to make sure you don't fall asleep in a cozy and too warm environment.
Choose the clothes that make you feel like yourself —your comfort is essential. However, you want to be ready for any unexpected videoconferences with your coworkers or clients, so dress in a way where you won't feel awkward and will still look professional.
Do not disturb sign
Put your phone on 'do not disturb' and limit your social media use during your work. To keep distracting noise out, you could use noise-cancelling headphones or listen to pleasant music. Avoid unnecessary meetings as they consume a lot of time, especially considering the preparation time and time finding your workflow again.
Our brain absorbs lots of water. It does a lot of work for us, therefore, make sure to take good care of its needs.
Listen to yourself and exercise your curiosity
The best part of working from home is that you can listen to yourself and your natural clock. Respect what your body is telling you. For example, I love afternoon naps, and if I feel like it, I take advantage. I don't ever feel remorseful or apologetic about it. Often Charlie Chaplin's quote pops up in my head: "We are not machines." We really aren't. I also like to sing and dance between tasks. That's why I love to work from home—I'm never bored, and my work is always produced with joy. I'm totally engaged, excited, and curious.
Indeed, we tend to be bored when we do the same activities over and over again. Monotony kills our curiosity and excitement. That's why staring at a screen 9-to-5 makes no sense to me. Having small breaks and different kinds of activities will be energizing. Use the opportunity while working from home to foster your enthusiasm, and don't be apologetic about it because this way you'll achieve better results in whatever you are doing.
As soon as you complete a task, find a way to celebrate. For example, I enjoy sharing my accomplishments with my friends, colleagues or family. Sometimes, just getting chocolate and hot chocolate from the kitchen feels like a celebration too.
As we've explored in this article, working from home can be flexible and enjoyable. During this pandemic, we, employers and employees, have an opportunity to rethink how we operate. Being result-oriented will help us in the process. By organizing our space, mind, and tasks, we will remain focused and, as a result, productive.
To understand how vital concentration is for our success, here's Christina Bengtsson's meaningful speech about the art of focus.