Staying focused while working from home

I’ve been working from home for over 5 years. Over that time, I’ve improved my home office and tweaked my work-day routines. Being productive while working from home takes practice and experience. I’ve gotten pretty good at it.

That was until the past few weeks. My anxiety and productivity are on opposite tracks: while my anxiety has shot up, my productivity has fallen off a cliff.

I know many of you are now working from home for the first time. If you’re finding it difficult, know it’s not just you. We’re living in a time of unprecedented uncertainty. It’s difficult for everyone, even those of us who have been working from home for years.

Everything is pointing towards things getting worse over the next few weeks. For the short term at least, this is the new normal. And so, I’m hitting reset. I’m using all the tips and tricks I’ve learnt over the past few years to stay as focused as I can be.

Here’s how I’m trying to stay focused this week:

  • As much as I can, I’m resisting the urge to read news during the day. I have plenty of time to catch up on things in the evening.
  • I keep my phone in a different room while I work.
  • I’m using the Focus app to block Twitter, Slack and news sites.
  • I’m using the Streaks app to track 40 minute blocks of uninterrupted work (aka the pomodoro technique).
  • I’m being as realistic as I can about what I can accomplish on any given day. My task list is 4-5 things, max.
  • I’m having lots of conversations with family and friends. I have a few lunch-time video calls lined up. Social distancing doesn’t have to mean social isolation.
  • I’ve given myself permission to take regular extended breaks whenever I feel like it.
  • I’m meditating every morning for 10 minutes. Sam Harris just released a good podcast on why meditation matters in an emergency.
  • Music is helping. I have it playing all day in the office.
  • I’m trying to be as helpful and generous as I can to my clients. We’re all in this together.
  • I’m trying not to be too hard on myself.

How are you getting on working from home? What things are helping you? Let me know – my email inbox is open: [email protected].