Staying focused while working from home


For many of us, ‘working from home’ is the new normal but the term did use to get a bad rap. (Cue jokes about checking work emails while sitting on the couch watching Netflix).

But let’s forget all that now and embrace a few tips to make this interesting year the most productive and health-benefiting period of your work life (probably ever)!

Embrace the Benefits of working from Home

Ok, fun stuff first. This is not to take advantage of your employer or the important work you have to do, but take time to appreciate the things you’d usually miss out on during your regular office day. These relate to time savers and having unique and personal resources at hand (like your own fridge). 

Never quite made it to that lunchtime gym class? Now you can download a fitness app like Seven to fit in a short workout (in this case 7mins) whenever the thought crosses your mind (Advance Level: Do a workout every hour, on the hour). 

We still believe it’s healthy for you to fit in a lunch break or a series of mini-breaks throughout your day while working from home because ironically, stepping away from your work for a little while can help you refocus later. But it’s up to you whether or not you use those breaks to take a nap on your couch, put together a healthy snack in the kitchen or to go pat your pet (tough choice!). 

Minimise Distractions

During working hours, hide that TV remote! Separate work devices from your leisure activities, so avoid using your work computer or laptop to watch movies and kickback. If you need background noise, play your favourite music or stream the radio (RadioApp can help).

Also, think twice before picking up your phone to mindlessly scroll, unless you’re on a break. Try switching your phone to Airplane mode for certain focus periods, or setting app limits to alert you when you spend too much time on Facebook and Instagram (on iPhones you can access this in Settings/Screen time/App limits). If you’re more curious about how productively you spend your phone time, look into time tracking apps such as Now Then which allows you to start and end timers when you begin and complete tasks in a certain category.

Organise your Day

Replicate your regular office routine at home by first starting small (showering, eating breakfast and getting dressed in the morning). Then build up to bigger tasks such as organising your schedule, writing To-Do lists (daily reminders can be jotted down on paper, in Google Calendar or on sites such as Trello) and setting yourself project deadlines.

Ever had a whole week to complete something, only to find you do the bulk of the work in the final few hours before the deadline?

The Pomodoro Technique may work for you – it encourages you to set 25min intervals for work tasks so that you complete each one within that time frame. Keep up any usual meetings and check-ins with your employees and management over the phone or video call, and set boundaries and alarms to signal the end of each workday. Just because you work from home in the new normal, doesn’t mean you need to overwork!