Your Home Office: How to Stay Focused and Avoid Anxiety When Working From Home
Thanks to COVID-19, the amount of people working remotely five or more days per week has risen from 17% to 44%. While the ability to do your work from home is a privilege during a global pandemic, it’s not all sunshine and roses. Working from a home office can increase stress and anxiety, which impacts sleep and mental health. If you’re still working from home, read on to learn how to relax, focus, and feel better.
The Problems With Working From Home
Working from a home office is, of course, a real benefit in terms of staying protected from a serious illness like COVID-19. However, there are some problems that can arise from working from home long term. Two of the main challenges people face are difficulty focusing on work, and added stress and anxiety.
For anyone working out of a home office this past year, the reasons you lose focus are probably obvious. At the top of the list are distractions: kids, a kitchen full of food, a comfy bed, and television.
Neuroscientists have dug a little deeper to help explain the downsides of working from home. The human brain has a limited capacity, so to focus on a work task, you need to filter out other things. When overloaded with information and tasks, both your ability to concentrate and your memory decline. Home is full of many more things that compete against work for your attention.
Anxiety and stress have risen measurably in the population since the start of the pandemic. The increase can be attributed to many factors, but many people report work anxiety as a major source. If you struggle to focus and your productivity drops, you’ll feel more stressed and anxious. For parents, there is the added stress of getting work done and helping kids homeschool.
How to Stay Focused at Home
You can do several things to improve focus while working at home:
- Create a dedicated workspace, even if you don’t have a separate office. Use this space for work only.
- Establish set working hours and stick to them. Avoid taking unscheduled breaks or working after hours.
- Make a complete schedule, not just for work but for household chores, breaks, meals and snacks, social media use, and other tasks.
- Keep off social media during working hours.
- Create a list of work tasks at the start of each day and cross them off as you go.
- Set boundaries with children. Make sure they understand the times when you need to be undisturbed, except in an emergency, of course.
Also, try adding meditation to your daily routine. Meditation is a powerful tool for focus, concentration, and relaxation. It centers you in the present moment and reduces stress and anxiety. A meditation session can help you disconnect from work at the end of the day, improve attention and focus, and manage the fatigue of staring at a screen all day.
Try a Relax Melodies meditation as your daily stress-buster and focus-enhancer. Some days, you may spend just five minutes on it, and on others, you may want to delve into a 20-minute or longer meditation. Make it a daily habit, and you’ll see big results.
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