Work focus: how to focus on work

Work focus — that concentration you need to stay on task – remains vital to those working from home. To focus on your work, you need to minimize distractions. But how do you focus on work when you’re at home, with the kitchen, TV, radio, children, family, hobbies, and other important life influences around you?

Lillian wrote in to ask how I achieve work focus. Here’s how:

8 tips for achieving work focus

  1. Make a to do list. Even if you keep adding things to the list, at least you’ve done something to prioritize your work.
  2. Keep a journal. Having some notes about what you’ve done today, yesterday, this week, this month and this year can help you determine where you spend your time — and what you’ve achieved.
  3. Set up a proper home office. No matter whether it’s a desk beside your bed or a full-sized room with a door, a home office can help you maintain work focus. When you’re in that space, you’re working — this can help you and your family remember you’re there to work.
  4. Get caller ID and voice mail. Screen calls from friends and family when you’re working. Attend to high priority calls from clients before you call your sister to hear about her new kitchen paint color.
  5. Establish separate work and personal email accounts. Avoid replying to personal email when you’re supposed to be working.
  6. Turn off the TV.
  7. Turn the radio away from talk stations. Background music may be enjoyable, but avoid listening to talk radio. How can you listen to a show and do your work? You can’t.
  8. Let your family and friends know your schedule. Tell people when they can expect to reach you and when it’s okay to socialize. And try to make yourself available during non-work times, especially to the people with whom you live.

What are your tips for staying on task?