How many times have you sat down to work and struggled to concentrate? It can be very hard to get into work mode when so many things are distracting you. This is particularly challenging when you work from home. Your focus can be split between your home life and work-life very easily. There are ways to trick your mind into getting into work mode. In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about things you can try to help yourself get to work.
We all have those days where we aren’t really motivated to work, but we can’t bail out on our tasks. So, what do you do on a day like that? You have to knuckle down and get to work anyways. We have a couple of tricks that can help you get your mind in the game. The key to these tricks is that you limit them to work times only.
1. Create a Work Playlist
Just like you’d create a workout place list or house cleaning playlist to get you motivated, you can create a work playlist. It’s likely going to be a lot different than other playlists, because you don’t want it to distract you.
Personally, I listen to instrumental jazz music when I’m trying to drown out the noise around me and focus on writing or things I need to read. If I’m doing mindless tasks, I listen to music that I can sing to.
Remember, the key to this trick is that you should limit when you listen to this playlist when you are working. Every time you start working, cut on the playlist to condition your mind that this is the sound you hear when you work.
2. Sit in The Same Place Every Day For Certain Tasks
While I know that not everyone has a job that requires them to sit, there are likely going to be parts of your job where you do have to sit down and focus. Whether it’s when you need to invoice your clients, talk to your team members, make phone calls. or wade through paperwork. Whatever tasks that require you to sit down, make it the same place.
Since the pandemic started, a lot of people created home offices. I didn’t actually have a home office until then either. Even though I’ve worked from home since 2013, I never had a desk. But, before I had a desk, I did have a few places that I would set up to work. Each place in my house was suitable for different types of work and put me in a different mindset. When I would stand at the kitchen counter, it was usually to do more mindless jobs that I could walk away from and help the kids. I would sit on the couch to work on writing projects that required a lot of typing. And, if I needed complete peace, I’d go to my room and shut the door.
Now, even though I have a desk where I do most of my work, I still have to move around the house for certain tasks to just break the monotony. However, if I’m struggling to focus, I go and sit at my desk to work.
3. Work From a List
We’ve talked about working from a list before. It’s a very easy way to visualize what you have to get done and to cause your mind to get in the right place. Make your list as long or short as you need to focus. If you’re really struggling to get into work mode, you may want to write down everything you need to do, including 5 minute tasks. But, if you at least get the big things down, it can get you to switch into gear.
4. Do a Brain Dump
If your mind is racing with thoughts, take a few minutes to get it all out on paper. This will help you clear your mind and focus on what you need to actually be doing. Maybe your mind is wandering to what you need to make for dinner or when you’re supposed to pick your kid up from school. Just write it down. You can write down a few ideas for dinner and check your calendar for what time you’re supposed to get your kid.
Or, you may be thinking about a problem you’re dealing with in the business. Maybe it’s not something that has a quick solution. Just write out your thoughts about the problem and anything on your mind. It’s ok to give some of your attention to the things on your mind. Once you do, it’ll be easier to focus on what you need to accomplish.
5. Start Your Worktime With The Same Routine
Every time you sit down to work, start with the same thing. Maybe it’s checking your email for a few minutes or reviewing your task list. This is a good way to signal to your brain that you’ve started work and now it’s time to switch gears.
6. Use a Clock In App
It may not seem like a big thing, but clocking in for work will really help you stay on track. Especially if you train yourself to clock out every time you stop working to get coffee, check Facebook, or go to the bathroom. If you have to stop and think about clocking out, you’ll be less likely to get distracted. Not to mention you aren’t going to want to have a million little clock in and clock out time stamps. It’s a good way to hold yourself accountable.
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Until next week, get out there and start breaking the mental chains that are keeping you from producing!