Ever tried to focus on a juicy project for a client or for yourself and you’re just getting to the big point… you know that feeling like a rising wave of anticipation and thrill— you know you’re so close to the brilliance you were after. I go through this when naming and I’m going through every verb tense of a word and every synonym for that name and every verb tense of every synonym and I can feel it, it’s just around the bend… when BRRRRRRRRR a neighbor is mowing the lawn—or for me, my dog needs to be pet and goodness who can resist, or my grandmother is calling me every hour, sincerely believing that since I’m not in the office, her calls won’t disturb me.
If you work from home and struggle to stay focused and boost your creativity and productivity, try the following tips. Change your approach to work, and you’ll be amazed by the results. Actually, there is one step you must do or this won’t work. Let’s see if you can guess it. Put your answers in the comments.
Eat Like You Live For It
Eating well is one of the most effective ways to feel good, motivated, stable, focused, hydrated, undistracted, and powerful. Right? Consider you’re a basketball player and you’re about to start the game with the tip-off. If you haven’t eaten like you live for it and the other guys or gals do that on the regular, you’re at a huge disadvantage, because you’re already off your inner game. Your inner game is playing weak because it’s preoccupied with calculating how much harder you need to push just to get through this game, get through this task, get through this day, get through this meeting, get through this deadline, get through this lesson. If you tend to fuel your body with energy suckers like sugary drinks, fried foods, foods that come in a box and are over-processed, the mystery is not a great mystery as to why your inner game is operating like your weakest teammate when it needs to be your strongest teammate. And your productivity will continuously crash, usually when you need it most.
If you want to get your inner game back and WIN the day, increase the number of foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals into your daily routine. Here are a few choices to improve your attention, focus, and emotional stability try consuming the following products on a regular basis:
● Berries (e.g., blueberries, raspberries, strawberries)
● Nuts (e.g., almonds, cashews, walnuts)
● Seeds (e.g., chia seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds)
● Whole grains (e.g., brown rice, oatmeal)
● Greens (e.g., broccoli, kale)
● Oily fish (e.g., salmon, tuna, sardines)
● Dark chocolate
Eat processed food less often, like only on celebrational occasions where there’s a birthday cake or champagne, and reduce the consumption of sugars and carbs on most days. Once you make your diet your fuel for living well, you will start to feel your focus sharpen, and with it, your enthusiasm rises!
And you know what they say about the size of your enthusiasm right?
Big Enthusiasm Big Impact.
Exercise Like Your Body Lives For It.
So many scientific studies have proven that daily, or at least regular physical exercise, helps to boost creativity, focus, and productivity. So if you want to work like the badass you are, you shouldn’t skip your workouts. Badasses stay physically active all week long, because they know that it improves divergent and convergent thinking – divergent and convergent thinking are what combines, repels, attracts, and ultimately transforms into creative thinking.
Of course, choose a physical activity that fuels you, not punishes you. If weights aren’t for you then try yoga, Zumba, samba, dance parties with your kids – this is one of our favorites, water fights every sunny Saturday, races to brush your teeth, bike riding…there are so many choices, choose one, a fun one to start and build on it. You will find so many benefits to your work, your health, and your social life. Goodness, walking 15,000 steps a day will get your juices flowing. It’s easy when you work from home to just sit in front of your computer all day long then get up and walk to the couch to watch the tv because you’re mentally exhausted. TV won’t get you out of that rut. Movement throughout the day will. Exercise like your body lives for it. It does.
Challenge yourself to fight laziness. Find a way to motivate yourself to start exercising. Here are a few tips:
Create a true office at home
Where do you usually sit down to work? The kitchen table? Lying on your bed? Coffee table? Or maybe, you migrate from around your home?
If you know how to stay productive working in a relaxing atmosphere, that’s great. But if you find your productivity is low, find a spot in your house to call your own.
Truly, you don’t even need to have a spare room in your house. We are in a great time of change and many of us bought homes without spare rooms for offices on purpose. What really makes up a room is the “Of one’s own” part of Virginia Wolfe’s quote from her book, A Room Of One’s Own. It needs boundaries, so many spaces have boundaries, like the balcony, the deck, the attic room, a den, the living room you never go into, or any other corner all work well for this purpose. My neighbor built himself a treehouse, not for his kids. Get this, he’s an engineer working from home and he loves being able to be close to the kids, so he built himself a room of one’s own, treehouse-style with a retractable ladder to truly make it a room of one’s own.
It doesn’t matter the size, shape, or location, it matters that each and every time you step into your “home office”, your brain will turn on the “creativity switch”. Your space, your routine of space, will support you so you can better focus on your projects and immerse yourself to WIN the day.
Block Social Media Like Your Income Depends On It.
If you check your social media profiles 2,3,4,5,10 times a day – shocker – you are responsible for ruining your focus time and making yourself very susceptible to the emotional weather of the social media channel you happen to surf at the time. You have almost no control over its impact on you except to block it out when you’re in your zone.
There are apps and tools like Focusme, Offtime, Appblock to block the sites you use the most for a specific period of time.
So if you’re like me and your best work is between 6am-3pm you can install the app that will block access to social media sites during that time. And even if you restart your laptop or smartphone, the app will not allow you to check what’s new on the Instagram feed during the specified hours. There are many ways to block your social media. You can simply turn off all notifications as well, and assign breakthrough rings for your family to use in emergencies.
Plan Your Day Like Your Business Depends On It.
One of the MOST COMMON reasons people say they can’t work from home: They are trying to find a perfect moment to start working on a project. Without the routine, the mind will bargain with you for more unfocused time, or more egocentric time, rather than time being of service. Your mind will start to bargain like, “why should I start working right now if I can do it 15, 30, or 60 minutes later?” “Who is watching? I could watch a cartoon now then start working. What’s the difference?” — Well the difference is you are putting your mind into a passive, receptive state when you procrastinate. We must take responsibility to put ourselves into a creative, positive, motivated state and even on our most tiring days. We all have them, the baby didn’t sleep, you couldn’t stop thinking about a certain outstanding bill, someone said something that rubbed you wrong and you can’t sleep… even on these days, these tips I’m giving you now can carry you through.
Just because you don’t have to go to the office doesn’t mean you don’t need to schedule your day and make it happen for yourself. Remember all of this is merely for you to help you grow and be your best self. Pick a specific time of the day (or night) to work, and plan your tasks and activities. It will help you to stay organized and deliver projects on time.
Keep in mind that you should schedule not only the hours of the work but also hours of rest and of play. You should give yourself enough time to relax and recharge during short and long breaks.
Get Outside of Your House Like Your Happiness Depends On It.
Even if you live in your dream house, you can’t spend 365 days a year within its walls. If you want to boost your productivity, you should spend some time out of your home and especially in the sun.
Have you planned to spend your weekend laying on your sofa and watching Netflix? Try to switch things up. Go out for a walk in the park, a bike ride through town, the beach, or amble around your neighborhood to see new things. If it’s a rainy day grab an umbrella and splash around, or go for a drive in a new direction to fill your cup with new ideas and stimulus– Whatever you decide to do, just don’t stay at your house.
Why is this so important? When you spend most of the time in one place, it may make you feel stuck, and it may hold you back from progressing in work. Change up your environment every now and then to get unstuck.
Ok. Now for the one thing you must do to make all of these work for you: Change Your Relationship to Change.
Let that one sink in. We are change. Everything on earth is always changing. You might say change is the curriculum of being alive. You’re alive, aren’t you? You might as well take the curriculum and become a total badass when it comes to change. Live for change, love change, because change is life.
I hope this has served you well and I’ll conclude our talk today with my personal mantra: Love What You Do and Love How You Do It.