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  • Michelle Melia

Working from home - struggling to focus?

Updated: Dec 30, 2020

Are you working from home these days and regularly struggling to focus or concentrate?

If so, can you give yourself the time to reflect and ask yourself why?

What is causing the distraction? Is it technology? Is it the household responsibilities? Or is it something deeper?


How we respond

How we respond to a remote work environment is completely dependent on our individual needs and triggers. When you don’t have an office to show up to, you miss out on opportunities for regular social interaction and connection with co-workers.

For some people, working from home can cause feelings of isolation and disconnection. You don't have the spontaneous chance encounters of walking by somebody's desk where you can stop and chat about how things are going.

On top of the isolation, working from home can also make it difficult to set boundaries, as the lines between work and home can blur and make it hard to ‘turn it off.’ As a result, you might find yourself logging more work hours, some of which might cut into your free time or affect your sleep schedule.

You might also experience increased anxiety or stress as you may feel pressure to be online every hour, to make yourself constantly available or otherwise prove you are spending your time in a productive way.


Notice your distractions

Do you find yourself unable to complete work tasks due to constant distractions? If so, ask yourself if you are at an unconscious level trying to distract yourself? Maybe you use social media, texting, WhatsApp or the completion of household chores to avoid an uncomfortable emotional state like frustration, anger, loneliness or hurt?


Awareness

The number one anti-distraction technique is awareness. The truth is, there will always be internal triggers that we seek to escape from. We will always find ways to avoid what we do not want to do or feel. We will always be surrounded by distractions if we want them.


Honest reflection

Can you take time to honestly reflect on how you are feeling about working from home and about your job, life, and relationships in general?

If you have been feeling unhappy in your current work/life situation for a long period and are unsure what to do about it, consider talking to a Counsellor/Psychotherapist to help you explore your situation.


Other effective techniques:


- Wellness -Carving out time each day for exercise, meditation, or other self-care practices. That includes making time for rest and relaxation.


- Reaching out -Be proactive in connecting with colleagues on topics outside of work so that there is more of a personal element developed as well as the work communication.


- Establish a work zone -Setting up a dedicated workspace at home is crucial to your productivity and focus, even if it is just a space at the kitchen table or a small desk in a corner of your living room. Either way, have a workspace that you can go to for work and that you can leave or walk away from after the workday is done.


- Planning your day -how much time can you give to each thing you want to get done each day, work-wise, rest-wise etc. Set times for checking emails and checking your social media so that they cannot distract you.


- Sticking to your plan -Following a schedule is key when you are working from home, otherwise, it can be easy to procrastinate. Being wary of transition times –between meetings, after lunch, etc. saying to yourself ‘I will just check another news website before I get started on that project….’

Does this sound familiar to you?


- Remember why you are working - put a photo on your desk of your family on holiday or an image of your dream house, car or whatever, to find meaning and purpose in what you are doing.


- Remember: Work and leisure time boundaries are essential - Disconnection from work is an important component to feeling refreshed and motivated. If you just work all the time and you don't stay connected, don't do anything fun, you're going to get burned out and things aren't going to go well in the long run.



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