Working from home can provide a great opportunity to maintain a healthy work-life balance. However, remote work can also be challenging, especially when it comes to staying focused throughout the day. The problem is that most homes are set up for functionality regarding your personal life but not so much for remote work. That doesn’t mean that you can’t set up the right space and schedule to maintain your focus while working from home. It just means that you might have to make some adjustments.

This guide includes a variety of tips you can use to stay focused while working from home.

why focus is so important when working from home

Whether working at the office or from home, you must be able to maintain your focus to be successful at your job. In fact, focus is so important that it can impact your performance in several ways, including:

  • improved productivity
  • better quality
  • fewer errors
  • reduced stress

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how to stay focused working remotely

The ability to remain focused is critical when working from home. Unfortunately, this can be quite difficult given the number of distractions you likely have at home. There are several things you can do to maintain your focus when working from home.

set up a distraction-free workspace

When working from home, it’s important to set up a designated workspace that is separate from other areas in the house. You don’t necessarily have to have an entire home office, but you should select a space that is free from distractions around the house.

For instance, unless you’re the only one home during work hours, it’s not a good idea to set up your workspace in the kitchen because other people are likely to use this space. Instead, consider using a corner of the bedroom or guest room, where you can shut the door when necessary. For example, if the kids are home from school, you need a place where you can work without constant interruptions. Shutting the door can also help to block out some of the noise. 

develop a morning routine

One of the best things you can do to start the mornings off right when working from home is to develop a morning schedule. It can be easy to simply roll out of bed and start your day, but skipping a morning routine can make the transition into your workday more difficult and impede your focus and productivity.

Just like you would do if you were heading into the office, start your morning by taking a shower, getting dressed, making breakfast and grabbing your morning coffee. You can also consider taking a brisk walk or heading to the gym for early morning exercises before starting your workday. The important thing is to make sure that you stick to the routine you set.

set clear boundaries

Sure, working from home often provides more flexibility in your work schedule, but that doesn’t mean that you’re available 24/7. Make sure that your friends and family members understand that you’re not available during work hours unless it’s an emergency.

Likewise, make sure your supervisor and co-workers know exactly what hours you are available throughout the day and when you’re not. Setting clear boundaries in both your personal and work life can help to minimize distractions and help you stay more focused when working.

Focused man sitting on couch while working from home on laptop.
Focused man sitting on couch while working from home on laptop.

make the most of your breaks

The last thing you want to do when working from home is to forget to take breaks. Set a timer to make sure you’re taking several breaks throughout the day. These breaks are crucial to maintaining your focus throughout the day.

Don’t waste this time sorting through emails or scanning social media. Instead, get up and move around. Consider taking a brisk walk around the block or doing some short exercises. The most important thing is to walk away from your workspace and give your mind and body a break as well as time to rejuvenate before plunging back into your workload. Not only can this step improve your focus, but it also can help to reduce the risk of work-related burnout

set daily goals

A great tool to use to improve focus is to set both short and long-term goals. Create a daily to-do list that highlights the most important tasks you need to complete that day. Also, keep a secondary list of long-term projects and goals you have. Keeping these lists near your workspace can help you focus on your most pressing tasks and can steer your attention back to your work if you start to stray away.

make the right playlist

Depending on your personality and work style, playing music in the background can actually help to improve your focus throughout the day. However, the wrong music can prove to be a distraction. It helps to create a playlist beforehand that you can use during your work hours. Try to select music that can serve as white noise rather than your favourite songs that you might be tempted to sing along as they play.

If music with words is too distracting, consider using instrumental music only. If music isn’t right for you, there are also several apps that play white noise in the background to break up the silence, yet not distract you from your work.

shut down after work

A major challenge of working from home is the feeling that you are always on the job. You can prevent this from happening by making sure you shut down after work. This means take the time to put any work supplies away and shut down your laptop, or at least close any apps you use for work. If you’re able, mark yourself as ‘not available’ on any work communication platforms. This step gives you time to walk away from your work and enjoy spending time with your family or friends. It also allows your mind to shut down at the end of the day and can actually improve your focus during work hours.

For additional reading on remote jobs, check out these pertinent articles:

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