Achieving Rock-solid Focus When Working From Home (With Kids in the Next Room)
Working from home is tough in normal circumstances. It’s no mean feat to maintain your focus when working from home. But these are by no means normal circumstances.
As well as that, many of us now have new mini-coworkers, who need a lot of attention.
On top of your usual workload, have you been promoted to caterer, housekeeper, and assistant to your ‘mini-me’s?
Suddenly it seems... it’s crazy the amount of stuff there is to do! How did you ever manage to get it all done before, and go to work?
You head to your desk every morning with the best intentions, but no sooner than you’ve sat down the dog needs attention, or the kids have a question.
How are you supposed to focus?? The good news is, you’re not alone.
There are very few situations in life where we can tell ourselves that the entire planet is in the same boat.
But that’s all well and good, however it doesn’t solve your problem. You’ve still got a bunch of projects to get done and there’s no coffee left.
Here at Onnor, we’ve been working from home for some time now, and we’ve got some pretty cool concentration hacks to share with you.
But before we get started: remember that you’re not a robot. The situation you’re in is difficult and out of the ordinary. Getting down on yourself will only stress you out more. It’s crucial that you show yourself some compassion.
So let’s dive in.
ORGANISE YOUR WORKDAY
Don’t underestimate the importance of having your own space. Mark it as off-limits. Tell the kids/partner/dog that you’re not to be disturbed while you’re in this space. Also make a conscious effort not to do anything but work in this space.
Since you’re not physically going to your workplace, you need to create this clear separation between home and work. Having a dedicated space creates this much-needed boundary.
Implementing a set routine every day will help your brain prepare for the workday ahead.
Fill your morning routine with wholesome activities that will get the juices flowing.
You might go for a run followed by a refreshing cold shower.
Try yourself at one of our Matcha recipes.
Feed your brain with a coffee and a brain-nourishing breakfast. We designed our Genius Coffee blend to support cognition and boost your focus during the day (and it tastes delicious!). It’s the perfect accompaniment to eggs on toast.
Make a schedule
Make a schedule. Stick to it. Sounds simple, right? But we know it’s easier said than done.
But even just a rough outline of what your workday should look like will help you prioritise and stay on track. Time slips away from us when we don’t plan, but segmenting your day helps you visualise what your day looks like.
Even better: make a family schedule! If everyone knows what they should be doing and when, they won’t need you half as much. Encourage independence and helping each other out. You are a team, after all!
It’s all too easy to power on through without taking breaks, so you can get more done. But taking breaks actually helps productivity and reduces stress.
Get up from your desk, walk around, move your body.
Rest your eyes by staring 20 feet into the distance, for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes.
Multitasking is a myth. Research has shown that if you do two tasks at once, you just do them both at 50%. Not to mention it fries your brain due to the switching from task to task.
So you might as well stick to just one task and do it at 100%, then move on to the next!
Batching your tasks can help. Our brain likes to focus on similar tasks, so if you jump from task to task in no logical way, your brain’s bound to fry in no time. Group together creative tasks for example, and do them on the same day. The following day, you might focus on organisational tasks.
Limit media consumption
Or, even better, avoid it altogether. Checking your socials is only going to distract you. You’re procrastinating, and you know it!
Okay, so how do you resist?
Consider adding a blocker to your phone/laptop. You can program it to block your social media apps / What's App / [insert your vice here] for the length of time you choose.
FUEL YOUR BRAIN
Your brain is like a car - it needs fuel to keep on running efficiently. So let’s talk about the different ways you can support your brain and give it the best so it’s never running on empty.
From plants used for centuries in ancient civilisations to essential minerals and nutrients that we often fall short of, supplements can help ensure you’re giving your brain the juice it needs to keep on powering through the day.
And that’s exactly why we created our Game ONN Nootropic Capsules. They contain 9 ingredients that are known to support cognition through heightened focus:
Lion’s Mane Mushroom - it’s so good for the brain, it’s been linked to lower rates of Alzheimer’s. We wrote a whole blog about it here.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine - memory improvement and decrease in mental fatigue have been observed. We wrote a blog about this, too.
L-Tyrosine - promotes the creation of hormones called catecholamines, which are crucial for brain function.
Alpha GPC - nourishes the nervous system by providing choline. Choline transmission is essential for memory formation.
Rhodiola Rosea - this plant is used to reduce stress and is believed to improve learning and memory.
Caffeine Anhydrous - a super potent version of caffeine, it is used to reduce fatigue and brain fog.
Ginkgo Biloba Extract - one of the oldest living tree species in the world. The leaf improves oxygen circulation to the brain. Yep, that’s good news for concentration.
L-Theanine - promotes relaxation without drowsiness. It is believed that combining it with caffeine can help increase attention and focus.
Huperzine - a plant-based neuro-protector, it’s valued for its perceived ability to help think clearly and support cognitive functions related to memory.
Try them today to take your brain game to the next level without the jitters and without crashing!
Physical exercise has a positive effect on cognitive function for about an hour afterward. And that’s whether you’re a teen, adult, or an older adult.
But don’t go overboard - the effects are reversed if you’re exhausted.
Need an excuse to take a break from your desk? Get up and do some burpees!
Just like your body, your brain needs to be challenged every so often in order to remain fit.
You can easily find brain training games online, in apps... or you can go the traditional route and do a good old jigsaw puzzle or solitaire.
You can also try concentration workouts.Another great excuse for a break.
Turns out, we weren't wasting time by playing this every day.
What you eat not only affects your body, it also supports your brain health. Certain foods are known to boost brain power, so when planning your meals for the week, try incorporating a few of these:
Fatty fish (think salmon and trout) - High in Omega 3.
Eggs - Choline improves memory and mental function
Blueberries - Increases the blood flow to the brain.
Spinach - For its high potassium.
Algae - For its high levels of EPA and DHA.
And don’t forget to stay hydrated! Our brain is approximately 75% water but it cannot store it. So it needs a consistent supply in order to carry out its functions.
You must drink 2 to 3L of water per day.
Resting you brain kind of counts as fuelling your brain,
since without rest, your brain, of course, can’t operate properly. But we thought it warranted a separate category to really emphasise the importance of rest.
It’s so often put at the very bottom of our list of priorities. It seems counterintuitive, right? To get more work done, you have to rest more? Doesn’t that mean less time to work? Well yes, technically. But the quality of your work will be better. Therefore, you’ll get more done in less time.
If you set the foundations right by incorporating some (might we say basic) self-care into your routine, you’ll soon reap the benefits.
Does this one even need explaining? Without sleep, your brain can’t function. Full stop.
Make sure you’re getting high-quality sleep, and a lot of it. Some recommend 7-8 hours. We like to indulge in 9-hour nights. Nothing to feel guilty about! After all, it is winter, the season to hibernate!
If you can’t get a full night’s sleep, consider taking naps. Again, nothing to feel guilty about. Make it a family “activity”! Who doesn’t love a daytime nap?
There’s an old Zen saying that goes:
“You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day. Unless you're too busy, then you should sit for an hour.”
If ancient wisdom isn’t enough to convince you, look at the science.
A review of 23 studies found that mindfulness meditation practices could enhance cognitive functions.
Feed your brain
Ever heard the theory that certain types of music enhance focus?
Sounds of nature are good. No lyrics is best.
We love binaural beats, a form of sound-wave therapy that sends different sound wave patterns to your brain. These can be used for improved concentration, as well as achieving deep sleep, a number of other things.
Spend time in nature
Nature is our best friend. Think about it - we were made to live among nature. That’s our... nature!
Getting out in nature has a range of benefits, not least the fact it improves our focus.
Get out for a walk when you can, run through the woods, try forest bathing.
Or, you can just get a desk plant: turns out, even just glancing at nature can improve cognition and focus.
MAINTAINING FOCUS WHEN WORKING FROM HOME ISN'T EASY
It takes dedication and organisation. But if you put in the effort, it will be worth it.
And remember, you are only human. This is new for your kids, too. Be open with them (and your partner) about what you need and try to work as a team. Count the little accomplishments throughout the day and be proud of each and every one.
To finish, we wanted to share this tweet, which we think sums it up pretty nicely:
Don't forget to sign up to our newsletter to receive our weekly blog straight to your inbox.