The summer season can make it hard to focus on work. And if you work from home, it is that much more challenging. For example, the pool, barbeque and home projects are probably calling your name. It can be even more difficult to concentrate when co-workers are on vacation enjoying fun in the sun while you are left minding the fort.
But there are ways to overcome those inevitable distractions. If you are struggling to focus on work, these five techniques will help you get back on track.
Especially if you are a remote employee, it can be easy to work too long without stopping. That’s why taking frequent breaks is so important. Not only does working non-stop drain you, but it also takes a physical toll. Get in the habit of taking a short break every hour. Then focus on a task that allows you to disconnect from your computer. Take a short walk, stretch, or go to the kitchen and make a healthy snack.
If you are having trouble staying motivated, use a reward to help you focus on work. For example, you can promise yourself that you can have a cup of your favorite coffee as soon as you finish a presentation. To stay inspired, you can also give yourself something to look forward to at the end of the day. Some examples could include rewarding yourself with your favorite podcast, watching a video or taking a long, hot bath.
If you can, take one of your breaks outdoors. Getting outside does wonders for your motivation levels. Even a quick walk around the block can be enough to declutter your mind. Exposure to sunlight and fresh air is one of the most positive things you can do for your body. If the weather permits, you might even consider a workspace outside—whether it’s on a balcony, on a porch or in your yard. Getting outdoors can also help you make the transition from work to family time. Going for a run or taking your dog for a walk at the end of the day can go a long way in helping you decompress.
Not only will decluttering your office help you focus on work, but it is also good for your mental and physical health. A survey conducted by researchers at UCLA identified a direct link between the stress hormone cortisol and clutter. And another study found that people with extremely cluttered homes are 77% more likely to be overweight. Also, clutter doesn’t just refer to physical items. Nonessential software on your computer or old emails can be considered digital clutter. Try organizing documents into folders and remove any unneeded files. Review your email inbox and archive important emails so you can focus on the most critical messages.
The ability to manage your energy is crucial for maximum productivity. We all have different internal rhythms. Some of us are night owls, while others are early birds. When are you most focused and effective? If it’s early in the morning, schedule your major projects to align with that timeframe. One of the benefits of working from home is added flexibility. Focus on what you can control and arrange your activities to take advantage of natural high and low energy times.
Remember that your ability to focus on work is like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the better it gets. So, while it may be a little tricky initially, with practice, you can train your brain to overcome almost any distraction.