For some, working from home is and has been the norm. But for others, working from home is a completely new phenomenon brought about by the pandemic and are challenged with how to stay focused working from home.

Some people are thrilled at the idea that they now get to work from home on a semi-regular and semi-permanent basis. And while others are not as excited and may have been forced into it, a lot of folks are struggling to stay focused working from home.

For the group that’s new to working from home, this has completely changed their day-to-day lives. Many have found their overall health is taking a toll. Some are struggling to stay focused and motivated. And even more are struggling with the lack of socialization and human connection.

Let’s face it: zoom just doesn’t cut it when it comes to meaningful connections.


6 Ways to stay focused working from home


1. Keep A Structured routine


It’s critical that you keep a structured routine if you want to stay focused working from home.


If you’re new to working from home, skipping the shower in the morning to catch some extra sleep and staying in your comfy clothes all day is a new phenomenon. While this is cool and novel in the beginning, allowing it to continue can (and likely will) negatively impact your mental and physical health.

It’s important to keep a daily routine. This means using your alarm, taking a shower, brushing your teeth, eating breakfast, and going through all the normal steps involved in getting your day started.


2. Get exercise


Yes, it’s nice to sit around in comfy clothes on the couch while we work, but if you want to stay focused working from home, you need to get your hinder off the couch and get some exercise during the day.


You probably don’t realize how much more you used to move around at your office. I often hear stories from clients about how they’re sitting for hours on end without getting up to move. This isn’t good for your focus, nor is it good for your physical health.

When you’re working from home, you can’t just get up and visit your ‘work-wife’s’ cubicle to chat about your weekend. Now our office interactions have been reduced to DMing each other. The problem with this is you’re not getting off your butt!

Get up (at least) every hour and move around. Go for a walk or bike ride or hop on the treadmill or Peloton over your lunch break and get the heart rate going.


3. Stock up on healthy food


Take a hard pass on the goldfish and fruit snacks and stick with the healthy stuff. Your future self will thank you. So will your kids because watch out if you eat all their goldfish!


It is WAY too easy to put on weight working from home when you can simply walk to the pantry and grab your kids goldfish and snacks. Get rid of the junk food. Stock up on healthy food and snacks and make sure you’re only eating when you’re actually hungry – not because you’re tired of boring zoom meetings.


4. Stay connected – (To Humans Not your Phone)


If you want to stay focused working from home it helps to stay connected socially.


Not everyone is cut out for working from home because it can be isolating. For those that struggle, find a friend or neighbor you can go for a walk with on lunch. Make sure you get out of the house during the day. Even if it’s to go eat lunch at a local deli by yourself. A couple minutes of face-to-face human interaction goes a long way toward maintaining good mental health.

When I used to work from home, I would hit the coffee shop every mid-morning to get my favorite beverage. Not for the drink, but for the interaction with the staff that I had grown accustomed to interacting with on a regular basis. You’d be amazed at what 5 minutes of face-to-face interaction can do for the soul when you spend your day sitting in your house by yourself in front of a computer.


5. Limit media consumption


If you want to stay focused working from home, skip the news. In fact, you should probably just skip it altogether. Trust me, you’ll wish you had done it sooner!


I always recommend avoiding news at all times regardless of the situation. When is it ever inspiring, motivating, or helpful? Checking out what’s going on every time your phone beeps can divide your attention and make you less productive and less focused. All the beeps and chirps and dings and dongs from your phone derail your focus.


6. Create Firm boundaries with your phone


Befriend “Do Not Disturb” on your phone and stay focused working from home.


Do not disturb is my favorite feature on my phone. I’m also a big fan of timers and reminders. Utilize these invaluable tools on your phone to make sure you don’t get sucked into text conversations, nonessential phone calls and emails that only serve to derail your day.


James Killian, LPC is the Principal Therapist & Owner of Arcadian Counseling in New Haven, CT where they specialize in helping over-thinkers, high achievers, and perfectionists reduce stress, increase fulfillment and enhance performance so they can move From Surviving To Thriving.