How To Stay Focused When You're Working At Home & Feeling Distracted AF
You work from home? Me too! Welcome to the club of logging onto your laptop and wearing sweatpants every day. Have your friends and family told you that they're jealous yet? Don't worry, that conversation is coming your way very soon. In the meantime, though, you're realizing that this alternative work style has its perks and its downfalls. On the one hand, you can go to your kitchen and grab a snack or a cup of coffee, basically whenever. On the other hand, you're wondering one thing: how to stay focused when you're working at home and feeling distracted AF.
Let's be honest: You're a hard worker and love your job, but you're also a human being. At times, your mind wanders off and you have to force it back down to Earth. You catch yourself in other thoughts and dreams, or opening a new tab in your browser and automatically searching for funny YouTube videos. You realize what you've done, and then frantically get back to your assignments. (Excuse me, will power? Where did you go?)
It's understandable, considering you're really just inches away from your favorite relaxation spots. Unlike some people in this world, your commute to the couch is nonexistent. But, as sweet as working from home can be, it's sometimes not the most ideal situation for when you need to hustle and bustle. Lucky for you, being a #girlboss and getting rid of those distractions is possible. Just take these eight tips from me, and you'll be good to go.
1. Create A Cute Office Space
Believe it or not, your bed is not an office. But, when you're working from home, it can be so easy to wake up in the morning and pull your laptop into the heap of blankets. You stay snuggled up in your pajamas, and snag that paycheck at the same time. Sweet, right?
Well, wrong. Not working in a traditional office can be a fun and unique experience. However, you shouldn't turn your pillow into a coworker. Learn to separate your living space from your work space within your own home, and create your own "office." This could be a table with some cute succulents and a coaster for your coffee in the morning, or one spot in your kitchen that you work in on the reg. See you later, distractions!
2. Work Out Some Personal Deadlines
Your boss gives you a bunch of assignments and projects with their individual deadlines, or maybe you're freelancing and have a timeline of your own. Either way, working out some smaller personal deadlines is best when you're dealing with distractions.
Don't give yourself the time and energy to procrastinate. Every morning, write down the things you want to get done, and then stick to that schedule. Tell yourself that the press release needs to be done before your lunch break, or that the first stages of the marketing campaign need to be organized by 4 p.m. Just like that, you're creating a work ethic and diving into your passions, too.
3. Pick A Time For Lunch
Having access to your kitchen and all the snacks in the world is a blessing and a curse when you work from home. It's great because if you're hungry, you can grab chocolate pudding with no questions asked. But, when you're in desperate need of a distraction, you start putting together elaborate plates of cheese and crackers, whether your stomach is growling or not. (Does this sound familiar?)
So, just like creating those personal deadlines, pick a time when you're going to eat lunch every day. This helps you stick to a normal schedule and not steer off course. Truth is, when you get distracted and put your work off a bit, you tend to be stressed out later on. Get into a routine, and that won't be the case.
4. Stick To A Morning Routine
Wake up, make coffee, eat some breakfast, aimlessly scroll through social media, get dressed, and then go. That's a pretty average morning routine, if I do say so myself — and one you should stick to if you're working from home.
Truth is, when you don't have to account for traffic along your morning commute and simply sign onto your laptop, it's easy to stay in bed a little bit longer. You often let yourself hit "snooze" one too many times, and find yourself rushing around your house those first few minutes of your day. Break that bad habit right now, and your distractions will go down, simply because you're more prepared to hit the ground running and get to work.
5. Stay Off Of Social Media
At this point, it's a tale as old as time: Your phone is the number one distraction in your life. It keeps you busy for hours on end, between all the different apps and social media platforms that are constantly running in the background. And never fails to give you a notification, right when you are finally getting your work done.
Do yourself a favor, and put that screen down if you really want to focus while working at home. Tell yourself that you can't check Instagram until you've handed in your next assignment, or give yourself five minutes every hour to check your phone and then put it in a drawer on the other side of the room. Trust me and then thank me later, OK?
6. Get Outside On Your Break
Getting outside can be a great way to combat distraction. It gives you a change in location, and lets your mind wander past the laptop screen. (Not to mention, you might run into an adorable pup or two! Yes, please.) So, during your break, take a walk around your neighborhood or sit out on your deck.
While you're out and about, make an effort to talk to someone, even if it's just the barista at the coffee shop. Odds are, you haven't had any human interaction all day. One conversation and some fresh air makes a huge difference, and you're ready take on that next assignment.
7. Let Yourself Laugh It Out
Sometimes when you can't focus, there's nothing you can do. Your mind has wandered onto something totally unrelated to work, and bringing it back to reality is a lost cause. It happens to the best of us.
In those moments, let yourself laugh it out. Give into your distractions for a little while, and your brain will naturally hit the refresh button. Look at your favorite memes, or watch a few videos on YouTube that have always made you smile or feel inspired. In just about no time, you'll be back to work and feeling better than ever before.
8. One Word: Headphones
When in doubt, put in some headphones. The outside world can be so distracting. Did you hear that car going down the street? What's your roommate making in the kitchen? Is that your neighbor's pup that's barking upstairs? Just like that, you've completely lost your train of thought and motivation to get work done.
So, stop the distractions before they even start, and play some music. Tune into some acoustic jams, and tune out of the other sounds going on around you. Working from home is a sweet deal most of the time, but when you need to buckle down and focus, sometimes you just need a little extra help. *Cue "Work" by Rihanna and let's go.*