However, it can sometimes be difficult to stay focused while working from home. In this article you will find several tips to better focus on your work, such as having a dedicated workspace, making your schedule with intention and practicing quality self-care.
Create a designated workspace
Having a designated workspace is critical to staying focused while working remotely. With a designated space you can:
- Mentally prepare your brain for “work mode”
- Minimize distractions
- Create more balance between working and resting at home
A report from the Harvard Business Review shows that if you’re not careful about creating boundaries between work and home when working remotely, it won’t be long before you can’t relax and unplug in your own house.
Here are some ways you can create a comfortable designated workspace.
Use a guest room
If you have a guest room in your house, you can set up your home office/workplace there. If possible, avoid your workspace in your bedroom to help your brain relax after work.
Depending on your work, you may want a well-lit room for video conferencing and meetings. Kitchens and dining rooms usually have the best lighting.
Keep your workspace organized
It’s normal for your workspace to become disorganized or cluttered throughout the day. Spending a few minutes tidying up and organizing at the end of the work day can help ensure you start the next day fresh and prepared.
Make it comfortable and welcoming
You should work in a space you actually want to work in, as it’s especially challenging to concentrate when you’re not comfortable.
Some ways to make your workspace comfortable and inviting include:
- Displaying photos of your loved ones or art you like
- Add plants
- With adjustable lights so you can lighten or dim the settings as needed
- Sit in a comfortable chair that supports your back
You may also consider investing in a standing desk to get some exercise if needed.
Establish a routine
It can be difficult to separate work and personal life when working remotely in retirement. Keeping both sides of life separate through a set routine not only allows you to unplug and relax better off the clock, but also to focus during work hours.
Start and finish work at the same time every day
One of the benefits of remote working is the flexibility. In many cases, you have some wiggle room when starting or ending your work for the day. It can be tempting to start and finish whenever you want, but a set routine will help you focus and be more productive.
Start work at the same time every day and end at the same time every day. Make sure your friends and family know your working hours so they know when you’re not available.
Also, make sure your co-workers also know your regular working hours so they know when to contact you. This minimizes being contacted about work outside of working hours, allowing you to better focus on your personal life.
Routines help your brain
Your brain learns from routine. Having a before and after work ritual teaches your brain to understand when work mode should begin and end.
The better your brain understands work mode, the easier it will be for you to concentrate at work.
If you get distracted, it can take up to 20 minutes before you can refocus on the task at hand. That’s why it’s important to avoid distractions while working remotely.
Here are some ways you can avoid distractions at home.
Keep your cell phone on Do Not Disturb
If your job doesn’t require you to answer phone calls, you should practice leaving your cell on do not disturb.
If you have an iPhone, you can use the built-in “focus” features to control who can contact you, how they contact you, and which apps can send you notifications during a custom “focus” mode.
For example, you can set your “focus” work mode to allow calls from your spouse in an emergency, but block all other calls. You can set it so that you do not receive notifications from social media or news apps during your working hours.
If your phone doesn’t have a fancy “focus” mode feature, you can simply put it on airplane mode, turn it off, or put it in another room away from your workspace.
Communicate with your colleagues
This tip goes hand in hand with the previous tip to build a routine. If you have a set number of work hours, communicate those hours to your friends and family and ask them not to distract you during that time.
Keep TVs out of your space
Keep TVs or other electronics out of your workspace so you’re less likely to turn them on or get distracted by them.
Try noise canceling headphones
If you work in a common area where members of your household are busy, you might want to try noise-canceling headphones. You can use these headphones on their own or connect them to a sound that helps you focus.
For example, you can enable a white noise or brown noise YouTube video in your browser to block out background noise.
Taking scheduled breaks can help you avoid mental burnout. Scheduling interruptions in your workflow can feel like an extra burden, but they offer numerous benefits:
- You can get to work more focused after giving your brain a chance to relax
- You will be more productive because better focus equals higher productivity
- You will be better at solving problems
- You reduce the risk of burnout
It’s challenging to figure out how to take breaks at home. There are plenty of options for breaks at the office, such as getting a cup of coffee in the canteen and visiting your colleague for a short chat.
At home, especially if you’ve set up a dedicated distraction-free workspace, it can be challenging to find a distraction that isn’t too distracting since you do have to go back to work mode after the break.
Here are some ways you can schedule refreshing breaks into your workday so you can start work more focused than before.
Everyone knows by now how bad sitting for a long time can be for your body. One of the best breaks you can take when working from home is a sports break.
You don’t have to do a 45 minute workout routine. It could be something simple like walking up and down the stairs a few times or doing a few squats.
If you live in a walkable area, take a walk around your block or neighborhood.
Prolonged, repetitive postures result in discomfort, aches and pains that can worsen your quality of life. A good way to take a short break from work is to incorporate regular stretching into your routine.
Set a timer for two minutes and shake your wrists, roll your neck and shoulders and fold forward to stretch your lower back and hamstrings. Whatever stretches you do, try to hold them for at least 30 seconds.
Get a snack
Keep your kitchen stocked with healthy remote work snacks that aren’t loaded with sugar. A healthy snack is good because:
- It offers a break from work
- It helps curb hunger to minimize binge eating
- It keeps your blood sugar stable
Snacks provide a natural pick-me-up that can give you energy to finish your workday.
When to schedule breaks
You could follow a method called the Pomodoro Technique where you take a five minute break after 25 minutes of work.
These five minutes can be spent stretching, snacking, or hydrating. After three hours, take a 30-minute break, such as lunch or a brisk outdoor walk.
Moving your body for about three minutes every 30 minutes can help counteract the negative effects of sitting.
Stay connected with colleagues
Another important way to focus while working remotely in retirement is to stay in touch with your colleagues with the right tools.
Many people struggle to keep in touch with their colleagues and team while working remotely due to the physical separation.
An excellent way to counter this is to practice intentional connection. Try following some of the steps below to stay frequent communication and cooperation.
Try coffee chats or virtual lunches
It can help to hold video meetings where you and any interested colleagues can enjoy a cup of coffee or lunch while talking.
These chats and lunches are essentially like a virtual canteen, where you can socialize and catch up while nourishing or hydrating your body. They provide a break from work that allows you to rest while staying in touch with your colleagues.
Start a group chat
Group chats are also a great way to keep in touch with your colleagues. If you’re working on a project with a specific department, you can have a slack channel where you and your colleagues provide updates, jot down ideas, or track each other’s progress.
Participate in business challenges
Many companies organize competitions or challenges promote work culture among their teams. If your company offers these, consider participating.
Self-care is critical to quality remote work during retirement. After all, you are retired! You’ve worked hard all your life to get to this point, so enjoy it.
Here are some ways to prioritize self-care while working remotely.
Check in on your financial health
Your financial health is a crucial aspect of self-care. One way you can practice financial self-care is by checking your annuity rates to ensure they grow and compound year after year. If you don’t use annuities, now is the time.
Eat nutritious foods
Don’t stay so busy that you neglect your physical health by regularly ordering takeout or eating junk food.
Take the time to go to the supermarket, buy fresh produce and make some good home cooked meals.
Get enough sleep
Getting enough sleep is critical for focus, as the quality of your sleep affects your brain health. Practice good sleep hygiene by having a bedtime routine, keeping your bedroom dark, cozy, and distraction-free, and going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.
Successful remote working during retirement
Focusing on remote work in retirement can be challenging, but there are plenty of ways you can take control so you can be the best version of yourself.
With the right workspace, planning, and self-care activities, you can have a successful remote work experience.
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