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How to stay focused when you work from home

I have been working from home for years now and I like to think that I am a bit of a pro at making sure that I get everything done without spending hours on YouTube. Here are my top tips for making sure you stay as focused as possible when your office is the kitchen table.

Pick a concentration playlist

I have a ‘concentration playlist’ on my Spotify channel that is just under one-hour long. I find it is the perfect length to help me bash through a good chunk of work, and it really helps me to focus. I have been listening to the same playlist since I wrote my first book. That’s over eighteen months ago now. This means that my brain is now trained. As soon as I hear the first song play (the theme from Forrest Gump, if anyone is interested), my brain immediately goes into work mode. It really helps me to power through, especially on days when I feel a bit below par.

As an extension to the above tip, I find that I can’t hold that level of focus for more than one hour (aka two units if you’re following The Organised Time Technique) at a time, so I always work in one-hour chunks. You can’t expect yourself to keep going non- stop all day. You have to factor in breaks. If you worked in an office, you wouldn’t sit at your desk for the full eight hours: you would get up, grab a coffee, go over and talk to a colleague. So, as much as you can, try to plan in similar breaks at home. Maybe walk to a nearby coffee shop to grab a takeaway latte, or go and have a cup of tea in your garden.

Observe your working hours

You need to make sure that you are not distracted from your work as much as possible during your working hours. Truth be told, my parents struggled with this at first. Neither of them had ever worked from home, so they used to find it very hard to understand that although I was at home, I was still at work, and that meant I couldn’t pop over during the working day or take random phone calls to talk about nothing in particular. All this has to wait until out-of-work hours, just as it would if you worked in an office.

Get a comfy chair!

This might sound silly and obvious, but if you are not comfy, you will not be able to get into your groove and you won’t be as productive as you want to be.

Make sure that you have a lunch break

This is something that I started doing again recently. I had been getting busier and busier, and this meant that I was working during the time in which I had planned to eat my lunch. Not only was I was working through my lunch break, work was also creeping into other parts of my day, despite my plans . So, I made sure I blocked out my lunch and I have been making myself take that time out. Taking a break helps to keep my mind fresh and helps me to be more focused in the afternoon.

 Remember to stop

As an addition to the point above, make sure that you stop your working day at a reasonable time if you can. And, if you do have to work in the evenings (for example, if you have to wait until your toddler is asleep), make sure you structure  your TOTT plan accordingly so that you are still getting your level- three time in somewhere.

Plan your day around when you are most productive

This is really important. I am at my most creative just after lunchtime, so this is usually when I try to sit down and write. I plan the rest of my day around this, but I always make sure that I prioritise the tasks that are going to earn me the most money when I am at my most productive.