We’ve all been there, especially if you work at home. Distractions loom large to take you away from work, even if you love what you do.
When distraction takes a hold of me, household chores suddenly take precedence. If I see the washing, it must be done and I have to make the beds before I can even think about turning on my PC. And then there’s the dishwasher, taking out the rubbish, even cleaning the toilet can sometimes take precedence. The list of distractions is endless.
What’s behind the distraction?
Before we leap into some practical ways to hone your work focus and motivation, the first step is to examine why the distractions are winning out over something that many of us have long dreamed of doing.
Usually it’s just something as simple as a little bit of business burn-out. Our brains taking us on the holiday that we need but don’t have time to take. So, the unproductive afternoon is a way of recharging the batteries and we’re right back into it the next day.
But if you’re finding it hard to focus for long periods, you need to think about what could be pushing you away from work. This is especially important if you are not just losing focus on your current work, but also on future work and moving the business forward.
It could be something in your personal life or a difficult or uninteresting work project. Once you sit down and really think about what the problem is, finding a solution should be easy.
If the reason for your lack of work focus is a personal one, ignoring it is only going to make you less productive. In this situation, it’s better to give yourself a little time off to sort matters out and steer yourself back to where you want to be.
If your lack of focus is down to procrastination about a particular project, tackling it head on is the only way to go. Try a few different things until you find what works for you.
Want more articles like this? Check out the work motivation section.
What else can I do to get my work focus back?
Spruce up your workspace
We all work differently and need different things to keep us creative and focused. Perhaps your desk needs a bit of a spring clean. Sure, it’s just another distraction but once it’s done, you’ll feel better and may have new enthusiasm.
Change the ambiance
If you’re like me, working at home can sometimes leave you feeling lonely and uninspired. To combat this, I listen to music while I work. However, I have working music and enjoyment music. If I mix the two I spend all my time listening and no time working. I’ve built up a catalogue of music that I change based on which client I’m working for. Amazingly changing the music can determine how productive I am.
Change the location
Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery. Something as simple as taking the laptop out into the garden or down to a café can give you the burst of creativity you need to get back on track.
Give yourself a reward
Sometimes the only way to get your work focus back is to resort to every Mum’s staple in the battle of raising children, the reward system. Try setting yourself a time limit where you work solidly and focus on getting part of the task done. At the end of that period, if you’ve managed to keep at it, give yourself a reward. It could be lunch with a friend, a trip to the hairdressers or a guilt-free hour of surfing – literal or virtual!
Once you have determined the cause of your lack of focus and managed to combat it in a way that works for you, your motivation should return so you can finish the project and move on to more interesting work.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to learn from the experience and avoid projects that make you start reaching for the toilet brush!