It’s 5:00pm and you realize you are only halfway through your to-do list. And most of the items you started, you only got half done because you just.can’t.focus. You bounce from task to task, stopping in the middle of everything you start just to start on something else. And every time you get up to get a drink or use the restroom, you see another dish to wash or load of laundry to fold, adding to your distractedness.
It can be so hard to stay focused when you’ve got a lot to do, especially when you work from home. But I have a few tricks I use to help me keep on track, even with a million distractions. And I’m working with Staples Brand Products today, to share my tips and tricks with you!
30 Ways to Stay Focused While Working From Home
1. Start with a ritual.
A ritual helps get you into “work mode”. Keep it simple. For me, it’s a cup of coffee and reviewing my to-do list.
2. Use a designated workspace.
Always working in the same place is another way to get your head in the game while you are working. It doesn’t have to be a separate office. It can be a small desk in your bedroom, the dining room table, or even your coffee table.
3. Make your workspace pleasant.
I love the stylish Staples Brand rustic desk organizer collection. I also keep African violets by my desk. They bloom just about constantly and bring some color and light into my space, which makes the space more enjoyable. Being in a space I enjoy helps me be productive.
4. Work designated hours.
This is a tough one when you work from home (and often tough even if you work away from home). But having designated work hours helps me stay productive during my work time because I know I won’t have the chance to catch up later during non-work hours.
5. Use mind mapping to organize your thoughts.
I love mind-mapping. I’m a visual person, so seeing my thoughts mapped out helps me to organize them and set goals, create action plans, and determine tasks to get things done. A dry erase board and Staples Brand Remarx markers are perfect for this!
6. Set goals.
Setting goals is so important for keeping your focus during the workday. Without them, you don’t know what you are working toward, so you don’t know how to prioritize your time.
7. Keep goals visible.
Putting my goals where I’ll see them daily is a constant reminder of what I am working to accomplish!
8. Create a game plan.
A plan of action that details step-by-step how you will work toward and accomplish your goals is such an effective way to keep your focus.
9. Identify a daily focus.
When I’m feeling particularly overwhelmed because I have multiple unrelated projects happening at once, I love to set a daily focus. I identify one main thing that I want to keep my attention on and everything (or most things) on my to-do list are related to that. This helps me get in and stay in the zone!
10. Prioritize your tasks.
Each Sunday, I make my to-do list for the week and I put a star next to the three things I MUST get done on Monday. As I complete those tasks, I check them off and star the item with the next highest priority. At the end of each day, I go back through my to-do list and add any new items and cross off any items that no longer need to be completed. This helps me to stay on task and not get distracted by less important activities.
11. Make reusable checklists.
You can easily make dry erase checklists with a Staples Brand Multiuse Laminator. This laminator is awesome because it can do cold and hot laminating. For reusable checklists, hot laminating works best.
12. Eat your frog first!
If you’ve read many articles and books about productivity, you’ve probably come across this saying! It comes from a Mark Twain quote: “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” In other words, tackle the biggest, most unpleasant of your tasks first. Once you’ve completed that one, all the others are easier.
13. Keep frequently used items within reach.
I know lots of people advocate for keeping your worksurface clear of clutter. But I don’t like to waste time searching for things, or getting things out and putting them back when I know I’ll just be doing it all over again soon. I keep frequently used items, like pens, stickies, files, and note books within reach. The Staples Brand desk organizers are perfect for this!
14. Use Stickies!
Staples Brand Stickies are a desktop essential! I use them to write myself little notes and reminders all the time.
15. Turn off notifications.
Not just on your phone, but turn off computer notifications too. They are a huge distraction and don’t usually lead to any productive work.
16. Identify your time sucks.
What are those tasks and activities that you get sucked into and lose all track of time? The ones that leave you wondering what you did all day because you didn’t actually accomplish much of anything? For me, it is social media. I can accidentally spend hours browsing Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But because I’ve identified that as my time suck, I can be cognizant of that and work to either avoid social media or really watch what I’m doing while I’m on social media for work.
17. Use a timer.
I love this tip. It’s one of my favorite ways too really get focused on something. I just set a timer and try to get as much done during that amount of time as possible. Then I set the timer for a break. When the break is over, I start all over.
18. Control paper clutter.
Paper clutter drives me crazy, but it somehow gets so out of control on my desk! Staples Brand products, like paper clips, binder clips, filing systems, and binders are excellent for getting a handle on the clutter.
19. Use good pens.
Oh, I can’t even tell you how much I hate to pick up a pen to jot down a thought or note and have it not work. It’s one of my pet peeves. Keep good pens around and toss the bad ones. It’ll save you tons of frustration and wasted time!
20. Keep a “take action” box.
I have a Staples Brand rustic paper tray on my desk that I put things in that I need to take action on. It is just another way to prioritize where I spend my attention.
21. Organize work with binders.
Binders are another office essential! Keeping my work organized in binders lets me easily take it anywhere. I sometimes bring work with me when we visit family out of town. And sometimes I just need a change of scenery and working from Starbucks is in order. If you haven’t tried the Staples Brand Better Binders, you must check them out. They are like no other binder you’ve used and they are fantastic!
22. Keep a Finances binder.
When it comes to business finances, I’m not one to keep everything online or electronically. I do much better with a physical binder. I do use software for keeping detailed records, but my binder lets me see everything at a quick glance and update things on the fly.
23. Keep an Ideas and Inspiration binder.
Since a good amount of my work is creative, I try to look for ideas and inspiration everywhere. The problem is, I often forget about it when it comes time to put it into action! So I keep a binder just for ideas and inspiration. I put magazine articles, quotes, or just hand written notes in the binder so that when I need to reference or remember an idea I had, I can easily find it.
24. Carry a notebook with you everywhere.
And I mean everywhere. My Staples Brand leatherette journal is perfect for jotting down those ideas and inspiration I mentioned. If I’m sitting in a waiting room when an idea comes to me, there’s no way I’ll remember it later. So I write it down in my notebook.
25. Keep “Open Projects” files.
My Open Projects files are a huge time saver for me. I just keep a file for each project and anything related to that project gets placed in that file. That way, I have just one folder to pull out when I need to work on that particular project. As parts of larger projects get completed, I put them in a project binder.
26. Keep digital files mobile.
I work with digital files a ton and I often need to reference them when meeting with a client. I keep all electronic files related to a project on a USB drive so that if I’m at a client’s office and we need to access a file, it’s quick and easy.
27. Keep important information in view.
Like your goals, keeping important information in view acts as a constant reminder of what you are focusing on. It helps me from getting distracted by my time sucks!
28. Stay inspired.
Inspiration is what keeps things fresh. Frame an inspirational quote, read inspiring books, engage with inspiring people.
29. Give yourself breaks.
It may seem counterproductive to give yourself breaks in order to stay focused. But breaks help prevent burnout and burnout is horrible for focus and productivity!
30. Reward yourself for your accomplishments.
Because you deserve it!
How do you stay focused and productive? Share your tips by commenting below!
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Staples Brand Products.