Workers are heading back into the workplace now that the Covid-19 pandemic is dying down in many parts of the country. If you’re one of these workers and need to work both remotely and from the office, there are a few techniques you can help yourself focus and stay active and engaged while in either environment.
Going in to work some days and staying home others, while still working, can be surreal and can lead to a lack of focus and discipline, but it’s imperative to keep your attention on the work at hand. Use these tips to help keep your attention in line and your productivity as high as ever.
- Separate your personal self from your professional self
- Take time to reflect frequently on your current and future work
- Schedule breaks and your most important work around your “focus hours”
Set Internal Boundaries
The great thing about driving to work everyday is it sets an internal boundary for yourself. The commute can act as a way to let yourself slip into “work mode” and leave behind your house and all of your personal activities and desires.
Working from home for half of the week, or so, can destroy these internal barriers. If you want to be more productive and focus on your work every day, not just the days you’re driving into work, you need to capture the feeling of driving in and setting your mind up to focus on the work at hand, even while working from home.
Once you’ve set your boundaries, your next step should be reflecting on the day and what you’ve accomplished, in addition to what you want to accomplish down the line. You should ask yourself about the work you’ve done and use this time as a way to assess your productivity and what’s remaining for the day.
It’s entirely possible you’ve put too much on your plate and you should assess this situation as well. Being productive means knowing when to stop the piling up of work and simply accomplish what you already have to do, and this is a great time to make this assessment.
During your periods of self-reflection, you can set priorities for yourself and work toward these priorities with a conscious effort to put these in order from most to least important. Many people list their priorities in the opposite way – least to most important – because they enjoy the feeling of checking things off their list without actually taking care of what’s important to them.
You can avoid this trap by tackling your largest problem first and moving down the list. If you’re working from home, your priorities and necessities might be different than if you were working from the office.
Take Your Schedule Into Consideration
You won’t always work most productivity at every hour of the day. Most people adjust their workflows to prioritize the parts of the day that they feel most alert, usually before lunch or earlier in the day. You can adjust your schedule this way and work when you’re most productive.
This time is different for everyone but adjusting your schedule in this way will allow you to accomplish more tasks and activities with less effort and time dedicated to your work. You can also set schedules with your colleagues and work together if need be at a time when both of you can focus with complete clarity.
Give Yourself Breaks
Once you’ve prioritized your day and confidently figured out when you’re most focused, you can move on to giving yourself breaks when you feel you most deserve them. When you’re working from home, there’s no colleagues to go to lunch with or have a coffee break with, but there’s also no supervisor looking over your shoulder at all hours of the day.
This means that your break time will be lonelier at home than at the office, but you can take more frequent and relaxing breaks. The mind and body both need time to adjust to work fatigue, as well as recuperate from harder and more challenging tasks. Break time is the perfect time to allow this to happen and will let you focus on your next job with increased vigor and endurance.
Don’t Fatigue Yourself
Breaks aren’t the only way to help your body and mind relax. There’s a very real phenomena in the country right now known as “Zoom fatigue” which arises because people are staring at screams more often than ever before.
Staring at a screen can cause your eyes to become irritated more easily and can lead to other aches, such as in your back and elbows, as you lean over your desk. There are a few different ways you can avoid this; most specifically, you can stand at your desk, both at home and at the workplace. This will help alleviate joint pain and keep your blood flowing regularly.
Use A Work Browser
Now that your body is taken care of and you’re not feeling quiet so stressed, it’s time to learn about work browsers. Work browsers are simply browsers which have many areas of the internet disconnected.
These allow you to focus on your work because the distractions of the internet are taken away from you. In addition, work browsers provide a perfect work/life balance, mentioned above in the first point. Work browsers allow you to partition your personal and professional browsing, creating a psychological effect of ease and clarity between the two.