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5 Ways to Increase Focus While Working Remotely

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How to increase your focus while working from home

Do you feel that you cannot achieve your goals while working from home? Is losing focus while working remotely one of your problems? Are you overwhelmed by distractions? Your case is not uncommon. While working online is favored by many people to achieve a work-life balance, many find distractions keep them away from their targeted productivity.

Working remotely has become more and more common. Even after the COVID pandemic is over, many companies continue their policy to allow their employees to work from home or turn to hybrid mode. According to Forbes in 2023, 59.1% of full-time employees still work in their office, 12.7% work from home, and 28.2% work in hybrid mode. Although working remotely constitutes less than half of the total workforce, 98% of workers admit that they want to work remotely for at least some time. This shows how remote jobs are high in demand.

Although the majority of remote workers said that working remotely increases their productivity, many of them reported that they are not on-task during office hours. 75% of workers spend time scrolling their social media, 70% shop online, 53% watch shows, and 32% plan trips, when they are in front of their computers. In addition, 72% do house chores during office hours, 37% run errands, and 22% take naps during office hours. Distractions while working away from the office are inevitable.

Distraction of Remote Working Statistics 2023


Working remotely might look like a dream job. It provides flexibility to the employees. Maintaining a high level of productivity and well-being while working from home, however, requires some tips you might want to apply.

This article includes 5 easy-but-important steps to increase your focus while working remotely.

1. Set A Routine

The human body loves routine. You might already hear about the circadian rhythm. It is the internal clock of our body. It regulates when you wake up, when you have your meals, when you sleep, etc. Working against your circadian rhythm is as if you are working as a slave. If you work when you need to rest, or if you work when you need your lunch, you will feel exhausted all the time even if you already have an 8-hour sleep.

Don’t enslave your own body, Readers. Cooperate with your circadian rhythm and your body will thank you.

The first thing to do is to note when is your body at the peak of its cognitive function, and when is your lowest. Some people might work best early in the morning, but some people work better a bit later in the day. Set your optimal time for the hardest part of the job. Easier parts of the job, such as reading emails or text messages, can be put at the lowest energy points.

For instance, I work best in the morning. I need breaks for every two hours of work. So I set up my day into three sessions. The first session is 7-9 am. This is when I work best physically and creatively. I would use this time for writing or working in the garden.

The second session is from 10 am to 12 pm after some break from the first session. This session I can still use for writing. The third session is 1 pm to 3 pm. My energy is lower at this time. I use this time for cognitively not too demanding tasks, such as checking emails or comments in my posts or social media.

2. Create A Work Space

When you are working in the office, you have your table or cubicle to work in. When you are working from home, I suggest you also set up a work area. Avoid working in the bedroom, because bedrooms give your brain the signal to rest. You may set a corner in the living room for your workspace. Keep as much as distraction off the space so that you can focus on your work.

Related: The Basic of Work From Home Space Set-Up

3. Choose Only Three Targets Per Day

Have you ever heard of The Rule of Three? Humans are usually impressed by three-word principles. For example: reduce, reuse, recycle. Or veni, vidi, vici. Any three words, you mention it.

Fellexandro Ruby, the writer of You Do You, suggests using the rule of three when you are going to set a target. Three wins of the day, three wins of the week, three wins of the month, etc.



I observed that I work best when I set at most three targets of the day. I would usually formulate them the night before. Three is a number I can easily manage in three two-hour sessions as I mentioned previously. So, each session has one target.

4. Dress Appropriately

Even if you are working from home and no one is going to judge your look, you need to dress appropriately. I don’t say you have to wear a suit (You might want to wear one if you attend a formal Zoom meeting). But don’t work in your pajamas. Maybe it is comfortable, but it sends you a signal to sleep.

There is a YouTuber called BBQ Mountain Boys. It is a channel sharing about growing vegetables and cooking food from them. In one of their videos, he said that how we dress expresses our attitude about our job. Wear nicely, it shows that we are proud of our job. That’s why they always wear nice costumes that express they are a professional farmer.

Pick a costume that suits your work field. Once you wear it, your brain and body will get the signal that it is time to work. If you want to choose a T-shirt, commit that the T-shirt you chose, you will only use for work.

Proud farmers
BBQ Mountain Boys (source: YouTube)



5. Emails and Text Messages are Meant To Be Opened Later

Maybe people have already forgotten that email and text messages are expected to be read whenever the recipient has the time to open them. Emails and text messages are like letters. You cannot urge the recipient to immediately give a response as you send it.

I started normalizing opening chats later in the day about a couple of years ago. I put on my chat description: “Messages are replied within 24 hours. If urgent, please call.” So far, there are very few people who make a call. No one has ever complained about what I do.

We need to train our brains that those messages are not urgent, they can be opened later in the day. Keep away your phone, or put it upside down so that the notifications are not seen. Stick to your work schedule. Finish the three targets of the day before opening the application. This works for me.

Ways to keep away distraction


These 5 ways might sound trivial but these will give you the base to focus on-task while working from home. Try it and feel the difference.

Do you have more suggestions on this topic? Feel free to leave them in the comment form. See you in the next post.


References:
  • Fellexandro Ruby. 2020. You do You. Gramedia Pustaka Utama.
  • Katherine Haan. Jun 2023. Remote Work Statistics And Trends In 2024. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/advisor/business/remote-work-statistics/ on Jan 22, 2023.
  • Tracy Brower. Jun 2023. Distraction, Diversion And Discontent: The Truth About Remote Work Today. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/tracybrower/2023/06/11/distraction-diversion-and-discontent-the-truth-about-remote-work-today/?sh=7e5f2dde4166 on Jan 23, 2023.
Nia M Wardani
Hi! Call me Nia. I discovers interesting things in life and I love to share them with all people around the world.
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8 comments

  1. Social media such as Instagram is a distraction for me, even big distraction.. LOL. It's so hard not to open it when we work remotely

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  2. Its fact that working in hybrid mode more interested than others. in my opinion, while working remotely from anywhere you can do many things. But you have to manage the time correctly, focus the target, and doit with great. If cant, you will lose anything what you could achieve. Nice post Mbak. Interested.

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  3. when you work remotely, don't forget to keep your body fit and healthy. do some activities to make you always feel fresh

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  4. Wow amazing article ..bring new insight for Umma. thanks you

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  5. Dressing appropriately is the interesting point for me. It is important but some of us do not think that it matters. Dressing "daster" while working just makes us want to lie down.

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  6. Choose only 3 targets each day helps us to focus and concentrate, right?

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  7. There is always any choices in our life, including for working. For some teens, working remotely in better than offline. There are many reasons why do they choose remote working, those are flexible time, flexible places, able to join more than one job.

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  8. I'm also a team that has to write down or to do a list of what needs to be done. because this remote work time management is made by yourself.

    ReplyDelete

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