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How to stay focused: 4 critical questions answered!

One of the challenges of working for yourself as a freelancer is to stay focused on your tasks without anyone watching over you. Being a freelancer comes with all the distractions, especially if you are working from home.

Some find it hard to differentiate between leisure and work, whereas some cannot escape the interruption caused by other members and demands of the household. To cover all of your concerns regarding staying focused, concentrated, and productive, we have answered 4 potential questions likely to be posed by freelancers.

#1 How do I plan my business hours?

Without having to wake up at the same hour and a given schedule, freelancers may find it hard to keep their focus throughout the time margin of a working day. The key here is to plan your typical daily routine. It can be flexible and you don’t have to strictly follow it every single day, but it really helps to define a framework. Here are a few tips on how to plan your day:

Divide your day into slots

By checking your calendar and your deadlines, allocate your workload to daily your schedule. As you do this, firstly think of your most productive hours. If you are not a morning person, be realistic and don’t set 7:30 AM as your kick-off.

Don’t clutter a single project into a day

Your availability to spread your work is definitely correlated with your deadlines. But if you can, distribute the work on separate days of the week. Wherever you are on your workflow, when you complete a maximum of 8 hours, check yourself out.

Take breaks

Give yourself time for coffee breaks and a proper lunch. Try not to eat and drink while you work. Step away from your desk and take your bites elsewhere. Similarly, when you take breaks, do some stretching, and take a small walk around the house.

#2 How should my work setup be for better productivity and focus?

It is of maximum importance to have an isolated work zone. Yes, you can take your laptop everywhere and that is what they are made for. Yet, to keep yourself focused, it is crucial to set a desk area where you will spend most of your time during your working hours.

It does not matter whether your desk will be in a spare corner, an extra bedroom, or the attic. You can decide according to what you have at hand and where you feel more comfortable. For some, easy access to the kitchen appliances and the bathroom is essential, whereas some enjoy a longer walk to those areas and consider it a time-out opportunity. Some are motivated by the sunshine, while others find a better focus in dim light.

One thing you shouldn’t overlook is your need for silence and in majority, this depends on the following factors:

Size and composition of your household

If there is a crowded population at home, a spare corner in the living room may drive you out of focus. To avoid distractions and interruptions, you can consider setting up your workspace in a separate room, preferably with a door that can be kept closed.

Nature of the communication required by your work

If you frequently communicate with your coworkers or clients through video calls or conferences, you could use some tranquility. Of course, with this type of communication comes in the need for a steady and strong Internet connection, too.

#3 What should I do to avoid being distracted?

Turn distractions into planned actions

If you realize that your pauses are taking way more time than your actual working hours, you should lay your hands on this matter. Firstly, start by figuring out what seems to put you off the trail. News, hunger, social media, or your kids?

When you define what pulls you out of your working slot, you can replan your day in a way that can include that distraction as an activity in itself. Try adding an hour of play with your kids to your schedule or giving yourself a window for skimming over Twitter. This way, you can turn your distractions into planned actions and control their duration.

Limit the buzz and the beep

Unless you have a family emergency or you use your phone for work purposes, you can keep your phone in silent mode. Decide on your available hours to take phone calls or reply to Whatsapp messages and then, inform your first-degree contacts accordingly. You will see that your phone traffic will substantially decrease.

#4 Does listening to music contribute to better concentration?

Yes, and science proves it!

According to a study by a research team at Stanford University School of Medicine, music engages the areas of the brain involved with paying attention, making predictions, and updating the event in memory. Similarly, another study by researchers from the Architectural Acoustics department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute suggests that listening to nature sounds enhances cognitive functioning and optimizes the ability to concentrate.

If you are looking for some tracks that can help you concentrate as you are working on your tasks, give this playlist by Ruul a shot.

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Deniz Öksüz Fer
Deniz is the Head of Communications & Brand Strategy at Ruul. She's been serving as a solo linguist, writer and editor since 2011. In 2020, she teamed up with Ruul to tell their inspiring story.

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