Dear Kim,

I’m having trouble staying focused while working at home.  Any tips to help me?



Dear Anonymous,

So many of us have now gone into WFH exile.  I can tell you from personal experience, it truly is an adjustment.  For me, the commute time from bed to computer is the only benefit.  I miss my fun, crazy co-workers and the day-to-day experience of being in the office.

Seriously though, millions of people have been working from home, long before this virus placed us all in lockdown.  There are ways to stay focused and productive.  Let’s be honest.  If your employer has trusted you to work from home, you have an obligation to maintain that relationship by doing your best.  Given what’s happening around us, you don’t need to be added to the unemployment numbers.

I joked about my bed to computer commute.  You need to get up and get ready for work, just like when you had to drive to get there.  Shower, getting dressed, hair and make-up are my going to the office routines.  So that’s what I do before sitting down at my laptop.  This helps with the mindset of “I’m going to work”.  It does make a difference.  Here are a few tips.

You need a dedicated workspace.  Doesn’t matter where it is, just set up a space designated for work.  That helps you and others know – when you’re in “that” space, you are working. 

Shut-out distractions.  I know some folks have kiddos running around the house.  They’re wondering why you’re there.  Explain that mommy or daddy is working at home.  Remember, they were busy at their daycare or school job.  You’ll need activities that let them stay engaged too.  It’s okay to take a break and play with them for a bit.  Then, let them know you’ve got to go back to work.

Stay off your social media accounts.  It’s too easy to chat with friends and family when you should be working.  You probably can’t spend hours in the office perusing Tiktok, so don’t do that while working at home.

Set deadlines.  If your job doesn’t have deadlines, set them for yourself.  It helps you to focus on accomplishing tasks or finishing projects. 

Keep a schedule.  Know when it’s time to quit working.  Perhaps your employer has established your work hours for you.  If not, know when it’s time to wrap it up for the day.  I find it hard to turn-off the laptop and step away. 

Maintain contact.  You can certainly feel lonely working from home.  Keep in touch with your peers.  Virtual meetings can help you feel connected.  Don’t forget, you are part of a team. 

Don’t forget your own well-being.  When working from home, take time to care for yourself.  Do something that brings you joy.  It could be as simple as listening to the birds sing in your yard, exercise, meditate, or take a bubble bath.  These are stressful times.  Do something for you. 

Stay well.

Have a question?  Ask Kim!