I’ve always been fairly disciplined when it comes to work. I love the challenge of a good task list (crossing them off is incredibly satisfying) and my inner competitive drive is constantly pushing me to see how much I can get done in a day. But this year has definitely thrown me off course. Pre-pandemic I always thrived working from home, but it’s safe to say there are more distractions now.
My son started virtual middle school this year so he needs support both with tech issues and assignments but also emotionally since he’s not able to see friends. My husband also started working from home at the same time I did so there have been moments where I’ve had to take a conference call in the bedroom because he’s giving a virtual presentation in the living room. And in addition to all of this, our dog also craves attention and needs to be walked.
But I know I’m not alone—I can only imagine how many of you are nodding your head in agreement while reading this.
So, the big question is, how can we hone our attention span when distractions are inevitable? I set out to find a way.
Read on to learn how I stay focused while working from home and be sure to share what’s worked for you in the comments below.
*this post is in paid partnership with Integrative Therapeutics
Okay, okay, so I know this seems counterintuitive but hear me out. I don’t know how many times I have been forced to turn my attention away from my work and I’ve lost my stream of thought. But since distractions are inevitable now with so many of us working/studying from home, I have to embrace them as part of my day and compartmentalize my day into blocks of time. So, if I must be distracted, then I use that time to take a break, reset my headspace (sometimes I make a cup of tea) and then I’m ready to get back into it.
Why take breaks? Well, they can help to prevent decision fatigue, improve health and wellbeing, restore your motivation, increase productivity and creativity. In fact, taking breaks which are also referred to as “waking rest” can help consolidate memories and improve learning. So, there you have it—mental downtime is how to stay focused.
Apply the One-Touch Rule
How many times have you looked at an email, then marked it unread to view later, and subsequently forgotten about it as it’s pushed down your inbox? I can’t tell you how many times this was the case for me until I implemented the one-touch rule, also known as the “touch it once” rule. Here’s how it works: As soon as you touch something, whether it’s an email, a text message, or a task you’re working on, you immediately act on it. This means you either fully complete the task at that moment (ie. responding to the email or text when you open it) or you outline a plan with clear next steps.
Not only does the one-touch rule save you time, but as productivity expert Nicole Bandes told CNBC, it also declutters your mental space. Think about it: when you don’t answer that email at the moment, it converts into “unfinished business” that then sits in your subconscious ruminating until you do. As she puts it, “the brainpower that it takes for you to process that information on an ongoing basis is draining.” I couldn’t agree more. This time-saving habit has been a game-changer for me.
Have the Right Supplements Protocol
Now, while all of these tips are helpful unless you’re supporting your cognitive health, your brain might not have all it needs to concentrate at work which will impact your ability to focus. While I have a very diverse and nutrient-dense diet, my day-to-day is typically very busy, so I turn to supplements to ensure my body and brain are getting everything they need to perform their best.
I know how overwhelming and confusing dietary supplements can be which is why I love Integrative Therapeutics®. They take the guesswork out of it with their Focus Protocol so I can improve my focus without the stress.
The Focus Protocol includes the 120ct Neurologix™; 60ct Active B-Complex; and 30ct Cortisol Manager® Allergen-Free along with a simple daily schedule you can follow with ease. What I love about this protocol is how it encourages you to align your supplements with your schedule—morning, day, and evening—to truly support your mood and focus.* This way you’re also not taking a handful of pills in the morning (which can upset my stomach).
It’s a truly multi-faceted approach in helping you face the day and helping you unwind at night.*
First, I kick off the day with the Active-B Complex which helps support my body’s cellular energy production in the morning.*
Then at midday, I follow this with Neurologix™—a non-stimulant nootropic with clinically studied ingredients that helps with sustained mental focus and cognitive performance.* It’s easier to maintain focus and concentration when I give my brain the energy it needs.*
And finally, at nighttime, I take the Cortisol Manager® which helps me to feel relaxed and reduce stress by balancing cortisol levels to support a restful night’s sleep without diminished next-day alertness.*
It’s truly an incredible system and I love knowing that this protocol is backed by Integrative Therapeutics 35+ years of clinician-developed formulas.
I have never been good at multi-tasking. There, I admit it. For years I would feel a sense of shame that I couldn’t manage more than one task at a time. It was often considered a valuable skill to have on your resume or to reveal in a job interview when asked about your strengths. But I have always been that person who needs to focus on one thing at a time and when I do, I really get in “the zone” as my husband calls it. In fact, I’m so focused, that my husband will start talking to me and I don’t hear a word he’s saying. What can I say, when I set my attention to something, it gets all of me, and the quality of work, as a result, truly speaks for itself.
And according to research, we aren’t as good as we think we are at doing several things at once anyway. Granted, technology has allowed us to do more tasks at the same time, but new data shows that humans don’t actually do lots of things simultaneously, instead, we switch our attention from task to task extremely quickly. “People can’t multitask very well, and when people say they can, they’re deluding themselves,” neuroscientist Earl Miller tells NPR. “The brain is very good at deluding itself.” So, quit multitasking and focus on one thing at a time. Your productivity will skyrocket as a result and so will your sanity—trust me!
How do you stay focused while working from home? Share your tips with me below!
If you want to give the Integrative Therapeutics Focus bundle a try, get excited: Use 10Camille10 at checkout to get 10% off on any bundle on Amazon.com
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.