For those of us working from home, staying focused throughout the entire day can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. In this ongoing series, we’re sharing our favorite work-from-home tips. Last time, it was all about “frictionless mornings.” Today, it’s our go-to strategies for keeping up the momentum—or kick-starting it—even in the face of the dreaded afternoon slump.
Stick to the Plan
You know how it’s easier to eat a healthy meal during the week because you prepped it on Sunday? The same principle applies to your work decisions. This could look like:
Either the day before or first thing in the morning, decide when to accomplish specific tasks and commit to that plan.
Based on your plan, block off time on your calendar, so colleagues know when you are (and aren’t) available. It’s important to honor the promises you make to yourself.
Particularly for writers, eliminating distractions is key, but often, this is easier said than done. On days that require long stretches of writing, try to set aside blocks of time where you don’t check your email or phone, knowing that you’ll be responding to messages during other tasks or parts of the day. Figure out the balance that works best for you and commit to it.
Give Yourself a Break
Studies show that regular breaks help us better manage stressors, think more clearly and unlock creativity. So, take advantage of the flexibility working from home affords you and step away from your desk a few times each day. There are so many wonderfully restorative things you can do in 10 minutes:
Hang out in your backyard or take a walk around the block for some fresh air.
Do a quick yoga session or meditation for improved energy and clarity.
Make a pot of tea for a well-deserved moment of calm.
For writers especially, reading a few pages of a great novel can provide a jolt of inspiration and mental reset.
Do Yourself Some Small Favors
There are other tweaks you can make to your workspace to improve the WFH experience and finish each day (or at least most!) on a high note:
There are tremendous physical and mental benefits to incorporating movement into your day. Consider investing in a standing desk or walking pad.
If possible, work near a window to soak up the good vibes of natural light. The benefits are plentiful and include improved focus and better sleep.
Establish regular office hours. When you work from home, the traditional work/life separation all but disappears. It’s up to you to draw your own line and honor it.
Create rituals that signify the beginning and end of your day. Maybe you listen to certain music while working and switch to something else when you’re off the clock. Lighting candles, listening to a podcast, making your list for the next day—there are lots of ways to have a consistent “end” to your day that can give you the mental separation of work and home you need.