13 ways to stay focussed when working from home

Legend has it that Warren Buffet and Bill Gates were at a party when a stranger politely interrupted them to ask them what the secret was to their success. Without a moment’s hesitation, they both replied “focus”, why then, does this seem to be so difficult in today’s distraction-led world?

Since starting my own business, I now spend the majority of my time at home and it is incredible how the most mundane thing had the propensity to distract me away from my #1 goal of building a successful coaching practice. In response, I have learned to create a whole new set of habits that I have formed with the objective of remaining focussed on achieving my goal.

“The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do” Charles Duhigg

So let me share with you my habits (or my rules) for working from home, distraction free:

  1. Have a shower and get dressed before heading downstairs – I get out of my pyjamas as soon as I can!
  2. Dress for my work day – when working away from the office my outfit is dictated by my clients and their environment, so I may be in a suit, I may be in smart jeans and jacket. When working at home, I always make sure that I am dressed as if meeting someone face to face, after all I never know when I will be required to jump on Zoom for a call
  3. “Show up” even when working from home – put on some make up and style your hair and don’t forget those accessories!
  4. Take regular breaks – I hit the button to launch my Facebook Page a while back and decided to take a walk around the block to clear my head. I bumped into a couple of ex-colleagues who I hadn’t seen for a while, they were having a walking meeting around my neighbourhood. Think of the opportunity, you don’t meet people sitting at your desk!
  5. My phone is on silent when I am doing work where I really need to focus. I have also removed social media from my phone so I am not distracted by notifications and I am unable to “quickly check something” (30 minutes later, what was it I was looking for again?!)
  6. !!Bad word alert!! I use this website on my laptop to restrict access to those websites where I can spend an inordinate about of time – set your own restrictions and websites – CLICK ONLY IF YOU ARE NOT OFFENDED BY BAD LANGUAGE – you have been warned!
  7. Flex your workload with the day and how you are feeling – during the recent heatwave, I was unable to work as it was just too hot and my body was telling me to have a siesta, so I did just that. Last Friday morning I was catching up with a friend I hadn’t seen for a while, she gave me some useful connections that I am now following up on.
  8. Keep your workspace as clean and clutter-free as possible, there is a reason that Steve Jobs painted everything in his workspace white.
  9. Invest in a comfortable pair of headphones to keep out external noise.
  10. I use focus@will, a music service based on human neuroscience. It helps me to focus by reducing distractions when working. When I have a big piece of work to do, I use the timer function and work in 40 minute blocks, taking a break after each 40 minute period. You can trial it free for 2 weeks, if you like it use this link to get $20 credit!
  11. No TV before 6pm – not even whilst I am eating my lunch, this can be such a thief of time
  12. Complete my Weekly Review – I follow the GTD methodology and struggled to put this element of the process into practice. I now do this religiously every week and I know exactly where I am with all my tasks and projects and am clear about where I should focus my attention
  13. I’m trying out the Weekly Objectives Plan by Carl Pullein. The idea is that when working, it is only normal to get sidetracked (like when a potential client contacts me or I need to put a proposal together for a new corporate customer). I can attend to these priorities and once completed, refer back to my weekly planner to refocus my attention on the weekly goals I have set.

“Half a day of focussed work is more productive than 3 days of pretending to work” Jane Ferré

What about you? Are there any hints and tips that you have to make your workday more productive? I’d love to hear from you, please share them in the comments section below.

#Habits #Focus #Objectives #GTD #Productivity #Solopreneur #ShowUp #Work