The topic of keeping focused is harder than ever when we’re trying to work at home. These days, so many of us are trying to get more done in less time, and many parents are having to work at home on the weekends despite having to go to work when our children are in school, but we still need to pick up our kids at the end of the school day and just carry on working when we get back. Therefore, the notion of productivity and focus is something we’ve all got to work on. So what does it really take to ensure that we can stay focused, especially when our kids are at home on the weekend, during holiday time, or just in the evening?
A Clean and Effective Workspace
It is so obvious, but the best thing for any person to do is to ensure they have a very clearly defined working area. This means having somewhere you go and sit down to work, and when you are done you can step away. But it’s not just about ensuring you have a desk with a computer; but about making sure that you already have everything that can help you to work in the most effective manner quickly. Therefore, you have to just find what it is that will make you work more effectively.
If for example, you are working on your own computer if you have slow internet or plenty of files clogging up the hard drive or malware, you’ve got to ensure your computer space is clean and clear. If you look at computers like MacBooks, there are a variety of free cleaners and here are some free ones you can try out. Rather than muddling through until you hit a problem, if you can ensure that you have a clearly defined workspace and computer, this gives you that solid foundation to thrive.
Find Time-Saving Tactics
When we are starting at a disadvantage, we feel we have less time to do everything, so we’ve got to look for time-saving measures in our working day. This means using tools or apps to streamline your work, for example, something like Evernote means you can synchronise your information over multiple devices. You can easily do this with a Google account and have Google Docs and other Google apps across your devices. But you can also look for other methods to work in clever bursts. If your children are not able to keep themselves occupied you’ve got to start working with the grain rather than against it.
You will have a finite understanding of your child’s attention span so if, for example, you have got 20 minutes, what can you reasonably complete from start to finish in that time? You can also use tools like the Pomodoro technique here. While the Pomodoro technique is typically 25 minutes long, sometimes the motivation to get something done in a shorter space of time so your children don’t interrupt your flow can be a far better tool. We also need to remember that multitasking is a myth. You’ve got to focus on one task at a time. Therefore, you would benefit more from structuring your working day so you can complete some smaller tasks first to get into the flow, then you can have a break and focus on one major task.
Get Rid of Daily Goals
We need to focus on our daily work rather than the bigger picture. There will be days when your children are able to play together quietly so you can get a lot done, but there will be other times when you are in the middle of fights and you won’t be able to get much done. This is why looking at the bigger picture and breaking down your goals into weekly progress is going to help, not just because you have more time to do things, but you won’t feel as stressed, especially if you don’t have a productive day.
This is where you can start to compartmentalise each day and understand where you can get more done. There are things like laundry and food that need doing, but you then need to be strict with the working times. Yes, this may mean you will have to do a bit more work in the evenings or before the children get up in the morning, but if you start to compartmentalise this, it is going to make working from home a much easier practice.
The notion of being focused when we have children is not always so clearly defined. This is why the foundations need to be in place first. You might be in survival mode, but with clever tactics and tools, and the little reminder that children are going back to school soon, you can get it all done!