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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

How To Work From Home Without Getting Distracted

How To Work From Home Without Getting Distracted

Both small businesses and multinational corporations in different parts of the world are rolling out work from home policies in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

It won’t be an understatement to think this shift will become the norm for several people, given the fact that the novel coronavirus has already reached the pandemic stage, according to WHO.[1]

While a lot of people are used to the system, several others are finding it challenging to learn how to work from home during widespread quarantines. It becomes especially difficult when there are a whole lot of distractions to manage.

If you are one of those people, here are some top distractions that will compete with your productive time:

  • Housework
  • Family and friends
  • Email and Instant Messaging
  • Social Media and Internet Browsing
  • Phone and Texts

How can you avoid these distractions while working from home?

Here are some tips to help you avoid distractions and get more done while working from home.

1. Dedicate a Space for Work

It is highly essential to dedicate a workspace in your home.

Peter Vandendriesse, the founder and CEO of Guestboard.co says:

“While it is easier to sit on a couch while working on your laptop, you can’t get it right with your sitting posture and ergonomics. And because you are closer to the TV, you can become distracted easily.”

So how do you maximize your home office?

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You can set up a double monitor and use a work desk or a standing desk, depending on your work.

Your workspace should be dedicated to working just like your bed is dedicated to sleeping.

2. Isolate Yourself from Social Media

There’s nothing as tempting as social media. You may want to stay up-to-date about the news and what your friends are up to. Try to audit your time, though, and you’ll discover that you’ve probably spent over 5 hours doing that each day.

So how can you get away from this?

Isolate your mobile devices if you don’t have to use the internet, and stick to your laptop. Lori Cheekd, the CEO of Cheekd, recommends using productivity apps like StayFocusd to avoid distractions. Or you can set time restrictions with the Google Chrome extension Limit. Once you have used up the time allocated, the selected websites will be blocked, and you can’t access them for the rest of the day. You can also download the best Android productivity apps and top productivity apps for iPhones .

Another approach is to freeze social media apps on your mobile devices to focus on your work.

3. Dress for Work

According to Andre Fasciola, the CEO of Matcha Kari,

“It is important to have good habits. It can be comfortable sitting in your pajamas, but you cannot be in your professional mindset in your pajamas.”

The focus here is not how you look, but establishing and maintaining a business mindset while you work from home.

You don’t have to wear a pencil skirt or a three-piece suit. Wear what makes you comfortable. Then follow your morning routine.

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It makes a whole lot of sense to wake up in the morning, shower, eat your breakfast, and dress up for success. That alone will create a consciousness of work instead of allowing the day just to run its course while you complete your work in between.

4. Establish Boundaries

It is your responsibility to train your family and friends on how to relate to you and treat your work time.

Why is that important?

A lot of them don’t know you work from home. You need to tell them you are not available for the long lunch or the movie break.

Working from home is often quite advantageous. You are in charge of your schedule, and you end up creating boundaries that work for your specific position.

5. Create Your Schedule

Have a list of tasks you want to complete each day. Then, allocate time to achieve each task.

If you are an ardent follower of to-dos, create one and cross off each task you complete. Don’t forget to allocate break times. That way, you can be sure of a realistic schedule.

According to Kathi Burns of Wikihow,

“A schedule is an effective means of staying focused, productive, and organized. You can experiment with a planner, notebook, or an app to structure your time.”[2]

Track how much time you spend on routine activities in a spreadsheet or notebook. This act can help you to be more productive. For instance, you may be spending 5 hours on social media each day when you could have spent those hours reading.

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Not only that, but schedule your day to reflect your energy. Knock out essential tasks when your energy is high and take care of less important tasks when you are less motivated. For instance, if you feel at your best in the morning, use that time to brainstorm and attend to crucial tasks.

6. Know When to Sign out

One mistake that is common to everyone is that we tend to work too much while trading off other important aspects of our lives.

This means it’s important for you to establish a fixed time and sign out when you feel you are burning out. Maximize your work hours, and enjoy your break to refresh and prepare yourself to clock back in.

7. Plan to Exercise

It is ideal to incorporate some physical exercises into your schedule when working from home.

When you’re working from home, it’s easy to get lethargic and forget to get up and get moving. It’s important, then, to schedule in time when you should be exercising.

So what can you do to stay fit and be productive?

Exercise your muscles! You can do this both indoors and outdoors.

It’s not only your muscles that get boosted when you exercise. Physical exercise can boost your brain performance. A workout can keep those endorphins flowing and provide you with a natural burst of energy.

Briton University surveyed 200 employees on a day with or without exercise. Guess what the outcome was?

Employees who exercised scored 21 percent more for a higher concentration on work, 22 percent more for work completion, and 25 percent more for finishing work without unscheduled breaks. Not only that, but they also scored 41 percent for feeling motivated on the job.[3]

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Another survey showed the significance of fitness in the work performance of about 683 workers.[4]

You can’t attain your peak performance while working from home if you are not fit.

So how do you stay fit?

Try yoga, dance, or run in place. You don’t need sophisticated gadgets to exercise; just start with what you have and stay committed.

Bonus: Find Your Focus and Eliminate Distractions

You need to find a spot in your house where your focus is at a peak. It may be indoors or outdoors. When you find that spot, establish your workspace and reduce distractions as much as possible.

Also, highlight your biggest distractors and devise means of eliminating them.

Distraction remains a daunting challenge you will need to overcome when working from home. You cannot discover your focus zone if you don’t highlight your biggest distractors.

While it may be hard to eliminate all distractions, you can reduce them by following these tips:

  • De-clutter your desk and office. Leave only items that are relevant.
  • Hang a ‘Do not disturb!’ sign when you are working on tasks that require optimal focus.
  • Close all browsers and applications that are not relevant to the tasks at hand. Put your phone on airplane mode and reply to that email later.

You can also establish a period when you take care of all these extra activities during the day.

Conclusion

If you are new to working from home, you may encounter challenges while trying to stay productive and focused. However, as you try these tips I’ve shared, you will continue to gain ascendancy over your time and work.

More Tips on Working From Home

Featured photo credit: Anna Auza via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

Good things come in twos: Peanut butter and jelly, Day and night, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The same is true for what sparks our creative energy: our thoughts and actions.

Creativity is an inside job as much as it is about a conducive schedule, physical environment, and supportive behaviors. By establishing the right internal and external landscape, creativity can blossom from the abstract to the concrete and we can have fun along the way.

Sparking creativity is all about setting up the right conditions so a spark is ignited and sustained. The sparks don’t fizzle out. They are allowed to grow and ripen.

Think of a garden. Intention alone will not produce the delicious red tomato nor will the readiest seed. That seed needs attention at its nascent stage and as it grows a stalk and produces fruit. If we want to enjoy more than one fruit, we keep at it, cultivating the plant and reaping multiple harvests.

Creativity lives in each of us like seeds in the earth or encapsulated in a nut. Seeds of ideas, concepts, designs, stories, images, and even ways of communicating that surprise and delight await activation.

By sparking our creative energy, we activate these unique seeds. Like snowflakes, they are of a moment and always without a match. The smallest sparks encourage even the smallest, most dormant seeds to sprout.

The good news is that our creative energy wishes to be sparked—to be invited to play. It wants to be our regular playmate.

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1. Be Childlike in Your Thoughts, Attitudes, and Approach

Being childlike in our thoughts, attitudes, and approach is an easy way to internally have our thoughts be gracious prolific gardeners to our creative energy. If we want it to come out and play and hang around as our regular companion, then let’s return to our 5-year-old selves.

Our childhood selves are naturally curious. We still have that curiosity! All we have to do is remind ourselves to get curious. We can do that by simply observing and being with what is in front of us instead of making up a story about what won’t work or why something can’t be done. So, it’s about cultivating curiosity instead of jumping into judgment.

Move Your Inner Judge to the Sidelines

When we get curious, creativity percolates and, ultimately, takes its place in the world. To give a hand in choosing curiosity over judgment, we can move the judge that also lives inside us to the sidelines. The judge squashes our creative urges, even when they are as small as sharing a point of view. It’s that pesky voice that causes us to doubt ourselves or worry about what others will think.

The judge is also risk-averse. The judge likes things to stay the same. Change makes the judge nervous.

Creativity is all about risk and changing things up. It needs risk, even failure, to be its naturally innovative, dynamic, impactful self. The judge likes to convince us failure is something to be avoided at all costs.

To move the judge to the sidelines and let curiosity reign, we can pay attention to who we are in conversation with and who is calling the shots.

Is it the voice of fear, doubt, or anxiety (the inner-critic—the judge’s boss)? Or is it the voice of wisdom, courage, strength, and non-attachment, and of course curiosity (the inner-leader)?

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We can easily tell the difference by how each makes us feel. The inner-critic depletes and slows us down, putting roadblocks in the way. The inner-leader energizes and a natural rhythm develops.

It’s all about who we spend time with. If we wish to exercise, we will seek out our friends who go to the gym or hike. If we want to lose some weight, we will opt to eat dinner with someone who prefers a healthy spot over fast food.

After getting curious, we can honor what our curiosity prompts us to do. The spark can do its job and a fire starts to glow when commitment enters. Our childhood selves were fully committed to being creative. That level of commitment is still something we are very capable of exercising!!

Again, we need to let go of the judge. We can ask ourselves, what do we want to commit to—negativity that depletes our creative energy, depth, and output, or the understanding that our thoughts and attitudes matter and that right thoughts and attitudes are the sparks that really let our creativity come alive?

Learn to Recall Your Childhood Self

To get in touch with that unabashedly committed childhood self, recall your childhood self. If you have a picture, pull one out. Keep it around so you can remember to activate that innate creative nature that was prominent then and wants to be prominent now and always.

Soak in the essence of that being. Commit to their commitment to brave and dogged trial and error because it is yours as well. You are that person.

Remember how tenacious you were when you wanted to build that sandcastle. You kept at it as the waves came in. You built with fury or reconfigured the walls. Also, remember that there was a willingness to fail since you were as invested in the process as well as the outcome—but less with the outcome. You were willing to experiment and start again. There was vitality—the main lifeline of your creative energy—instead of a rigid attachment.

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When you notice you are in conversation with your inner-critic or being held back by it, simply acknowledge, name it, and then switch to your inner-leader by taking a few good deep belly breaths, rubbing two fingertips together, or listening to ambient sounds in the background.

Physical movements shift our negative thoughts over to the positive domain of the inner-leader. As our judge continues to sit on the sidelines, our ability to quiet the inner-critic becomes stronger. We taste freedom. A simple taste emboldens us to say no again to the judge and yes to what makes our hearts and spirits sing—our creativity.

We begin to spark creativity to the point it no longer needs to be invited to play. It becomes our regular playmate—the younger sibling or the kid next door ready to have some fun, maybe even make some mischief by shaking things up.

When we align with our inner-leader and think and act from its promptings, creativity flows up and out with ease, as it needs to!

Letting those initial sparks generate a creativity fire that keeps burning is something we can all do! That’s the inside job.

2. Listen to Your Inner Leaders of Creative Energy

If we listen, our inner-leaders will let us know just what we need to set-up and do in our physical world to maximize that gorgeous, hungry creativity we now have flowing freely in us.

The seed has been unlocked! So, now what?

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To enable our creative energy to take its form and place outside of us, there needs to be spaciousness! Spaciousness in our physical worlds impacts our internal one. It lets the voice of the inner-leader be heard. It lets creativity have room to be sparked and acted upon.

With a little discipline, we can easily create spaciousness in our daily lives—spaciousness that will spark our creativity and let it take shape.

So, no matter who you are and what conditions help your creativity thrive, check-out these easy-to-implement basic suggestions:

  • Reduce or eliminate multi-tasking.
  • Say yes to what matters and what aligns with your big values and goals.
  • Say no to all else.
  • Say no again.
  • Schedule time in your calendar as you do with other things in your life to just be, to ponder, to let ideas percolate, and to create.
  • Spend time doing the things that bring out your creative energy. It could be walking, singing, or simply looking out the window.
  • Meditate.
  • Breathe—long breaths in and long breaths out through the nose.
  • Invite your body and heart into your experiences so your mind is a part of you and not all of you.
  • Try a new thing to spark your creativity. If you spend time running, try a different route. If running feels stale, cruise around a museum, or go for a bike ride.
  • Play a game. Indoors out or outside. Think of what makes you happy that you haven’t done in a while. Is it a physical game like badminton or cards? Maybe it’s storytelling? Play is creative, and it sparks the creative energy, too.
  • Spend time in the places that bring out your creativity. What spot in your home could be your spot for entering into that mode? Do you need to get out? Maybe a park bench is the right spot, with a book of poetry, or even nothing at all.
  • Spend time in nature. Nature brings us to a place of calm and awe and through that our creativity is easily sparked.

Final Thoughts

These are all habits—habits of mind and habits of doing. Experiment with what works for you. Have fun. If you give even 50% to altering your thoughts and actions, then you will begin to spark your creativity. It takes a lot of curiosity and commitment, but it can definitely be done.

Our innate creative energy is a deep source of all that we seek—joy, connection, renewal. It deserves and looks forward to the changes you will make that will let sparks fly and ignite!

More Tips to Spark Your Creative Energy

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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