Working from home may feel like a dream come true: no more commuting? more time with your dog? getting to wear PJ bottoms all day? Sign me up!
This post was developed in partnership with Florida Citrus, however all opinions are my own.
However, working from home is not as easy as it sounds! It can actually bring on a whole boatload of challenges – including the ability to FOCUS. It’s almost impossible to concentrate on your work when your neighbour is mowing the lawn, your dog is barking, or your mom is calling you every hour. This can lead to us working longer hours than usual, as you try to play catch-up from the day.
If you work from home and struggle to stay focused and productive, try to use the following tips. Change your approach to work, and you’ll be amazed by the results.
1. Get Moving First Thing
Your physical health is more at risk than you realize when working from home. Even those who sit in an office cubicle still tend to walk 5000 steps or so throughout the day, to their car, out to lunch, and so on.
As you’re skipping your morning work commute, what better time to get that movement in, than at the start of your day! I say ‘movement’ purposefully – as it doesn’t have to be a traditional exercise as running or lifting weights in your garage. How about a 30 minute walk, while listening to your favourite podcast? Or doing an online fun dance workout with your kids? Move in a way that feels good to you, and a way that you enjoy.
Multiple scientific studies prove that regular physical exercise helps to boost creativity and productivity, as well as a brain boost. Instead of reaching for a cup of coffee, a workout can get those endorphins flowing and deliver a natural burst of energy.
2. Have Snacks Prepared
I consistently emphasize the point of meal prepping, but it is also important to have good-quality snacks prepared ahead of time!
When we need a ‘boost’ throughout our day, it’s easy to turn to what’s available in the cupboard. However, most often than not, what’s in the cupboard is not going to be the best source of fuel.
One of my favourite go-to snacks? This fresh-tasting Orange Hummus Plate made with 100% Florida Orange Juice (recipe below). It takes 5 minutes to prepare (seriously – just blend and serve!) and will keep me full for a good few hours. An added bonus? Florida Orange Juice contains nutrients that may support brain health and may positively impact cognition.
Florida Orange Juice has several nutrients and plant compounds that may play a role in cognitive health when included as part of a balanced diet:
The nutritional benefits Florida Orange Juice provides seem almost endless. Among many other nutrients, Florida OJ is rich in vitamin C, which helps support a healthier immune system, and it’s also packed with bioactive nutrients that may help support cognitive function.
3. Write Out Critical Tasks Each Hour
It’s always a good idea to create a to-do list. However, your to-do list may consist of both your work tasks and home tasks – which can be overwhelming! For instance, your daily to-do list may look like this:
- Write a 1,000-word article for Client Z
- Create three social media posts on plant-based eating for Client Y
- Edit the article for Client X
- Water my plants
- Practice yoga for 20 minutes
- Deep clean my living room
Instead, I would recommend reorganizing this list to make it “hour-by-hour” instead.
9-10 am: Create outline for the 1,000-work article for Client Z and conduct necessary research
10-11: Finish article for Client Z
11-12: Water plants and eat
12-1: Create descriptions for social media posts for Client Y
1-2: Gather images for social media posts for Client Y
2-3: Practice yoga for 20 minutes and walk the dog
3-4: Edit the article for Client X
4-5: Deep clean my living room
To-do lists can be helpful, but we have to make sure that we make the most out of them!
4. Set Small Daily Goals
The hourly to-do list should be developed from these daily goals that you set for yourself. Make sure these goals are ‘SMART’ goals – (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely), instead of vague and general. For example ‘develop 3 social media posts on plant-based eating for Client Y’ is an example of a SMART goal, while ‘work on social media posts for client’ would not be.
5. Minimize Distractions
Minimizing distractions may be easier said than done. There are two keys to minimizing distractions:
A) Have a Dedicated Work Place
Where do you usually work? Do you work at the kitchen table? Or prefer to do your work lying on your bed? Or maybe, you migrate from one spot to another?
If you know how to stay productive working in a relaxing atmosphere, that’s great. But if your productivity is low, find a spot in your house to create a small office.
In fact, you don’t even need to have a spare room. The balcony, attic room, part of your living room, or any other corner all work well for this purpose. The spot for your home office should fit a small computer table with a comfy chair, and it should have access to natural light.
Every time you step into your “home office”, your brain will turn on the “working mode”. It will help you to focus on your project and immerse yourself in the day’s work.
B) Set Dedicated Times For ‘Fun Browsing’ ie Social Media
Is there any rabbit hole more tempting than social media? A quick scroll on Instagram can turn into a major time suck, but there are ways to avoid temptation.
You can set dedicated times for browsing social media (and evening work it into your hourly to do list) or you can uses an app like StayFocused, which restricts the amount of time you can spend on them on social media.
Orange Hummus Plate
A fresh citrus twist on your favourite hummus.
- 2 (15-ounce) cans garbanzo beans, drained
- 1 cup 100% Florida orange juice
- 1 cup canned artichoke hearts, drained
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic
- Your choice of veggies and crackers
- In food processor bowl, combine all ingredients.
- Process until smooth, stopping and scraping sides of bowl several times.
- Serve Citrus Hummus with crackers and assorted fresh vegetables.