WFH most certainly has its perks. No travel time, more time in bed, no packed London Central and Northern lines, no one looking over your shoulder, music playlists, avoiding office banter (unless you are the creator of office banter), the list goes on…
There is however a very baffling question which is on everyone’s lips at the moment – “How do you focus, stay motivated and increase productivity whilst working from home?”
Technology has had a vast impact on our distractibility – we are forever being bombarded with notifications which give us a surge of dopamine meaning they are so difficult to resist. This results in our attention span being subject to decrease. However, technology is also a means of keeping us connected, and during this difficult time, perhaps you could even call it a saving grace. So – we work from home and create/commence online relationships (whilst trying to keep our social media use to a minimum).
COVID-19 has most certainly changed up our routine, and somewhat thrown it out of array. WFH means no one can tell exactly what you’re doing, so the temptation to slow down your pace or ‘slack’ is very real. Self discipline is hard, we feel you. As I write, I myself am struggling to focus (the irony) – distractions in your home can be frustrating.
How can we use the tools that we possess and make positive changes to avoid the vicious cycle of online life?
Here are 8 tips you get you in the zone:
1. Routine & Plan
Routine is key when you want to increase productivity. Setting your alarm at the same time every morning (and getting up at that time) can keep you on track with your workload. This also keeps your body clock in check which will avoid you feeling drowsy. Which leads me onto the all important sleep – go to bed! Humans need an average of between 7-9 hours sleep, so get some shuteye and stick to a bedtime. Setting goals at the beginning of the day and planning will also motivate you to maintain your focus. Sometimes it’s best to write a list – when you have goals in writing you are more likely to stick with them (people tend to want to prove/outdo themselves). Last but not least, take a break. Being in your home environment, you can often forget you’re working, but breaks are essential for productivity. We recommend having a 15-20 minute break every couple of hours to bring you back to a state of focus.
2. Cold Water Therapy
Short and frequent exposure to cold water is linked to a variety of health benefits including decrease in blood pressure, increase of metabolism, reduction of inflammation, improved quality of sleep, improved immune response, and you guessed it – increase in focus. Jumping in a cold shower for just two minutes a day when you first wake up can help you (ironically) wake up, have higher energy levels, and become more productive during your day. It also has the ability to increase dopamine, serotonin and endorphin levels. Win win!
Mediation has an incredible amount of benefits, one of which includes focus. ‘FAM’ (focus attention meditation) is a form of mediation that prevents attention towards irrelevant or unwanted stimuli. When you draw attention to your body/ breath, you can remove yourself from thought. Often when you finish meditation you are capable of bringing a new perspective to your work, and it can even boost creativity. Mediation in the morning, before bed, and even midway through the day is a helpful method to practice.
4. Tidy Your Room
(…or wherever in the house you work). Mess can be extremely distracting and off-putting – your office at work was tidy, so why make your home office a state? It may sound simple, but tidying up makes a world of difference. You want to create the most calming environment possible to work in order to maintain your attention. Your mum would also be proud.
5. Airplane Mode
Also known as ‘Flight Mode’ – this nifty setting preserves battery but it is also useful for exactly this. Let your friends and family know you are going off the radar for the day – you might be doing them a favour too.
Some of us work better in silence, some of us work better with the office joker giving us their newest spiel, and some of us work better with sweet, sweet music. Create a playlist which isn’t too stimulating that you veer off track and get distracted. Try some instrumental music without lyrics (not techno or drum & bass) to help keep you calm and collected. If you’re in a house with other people – headphones.
We know you love it! Exercise is linked to better concentration and overall improved brain functioning. 30 minutes of exercise a day can hugely impact your ability to focus whilst giving you a boost of luscious endorphins. Physical movement and exercise also lowers the risk of neurological and cognitive disorders such as ADHD and Alzheimer’s.
8. Diet and Water
Last but certainly not least…
The foods you eat, or don’t eat can affect your ability to focus on your work or a project and
can make you less productive. Food sensitivities can slow you down, make you feel ‘foggy’ and fatigued. There are certain foods that can stimulate energy and clarity if eaten alongside meals that are designed to have less inflammation causing foods. Removing gluten, reducing dairy, avoiding fried or browned foods as well as aspartame sweeteners, sugary foods and alcohol helps reduce the inflammation that causes sluggishness.
Foods to include:
- Dark Chocolate/Raw Cocoa
- Pumpkin seeds
- Purified fish oil
- Low mercury oily fish
Oh, and drink your water – your brain can’t function properly without it.
As always, we wish you the best, and hope that this information will bring you a little closer to an improved, healthier and happier version of yourself.
POW Team x