How to stay focused in 4 questions
One of the challenges of working as a freelancer is to stay focused on your tasks without anyone watching over you. As a freelancer, creating and maintaining a workspace is your responsibility and eliminating all the distractions might be tricky, especially if you are working from home.
Some find it hard to draw the line between leisure and work, whereas some don’t have the means to separate themselves from the distractions of a full house. To cover all of your concerns on how to stay focused, concentrated, and productive, we have answered 4 potential questions likely to be posed by freelancers.
How do I plan my business hours?
Without having a schedule set by a manager or a team lead, some 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 your daily schedule. As you do this, first determine your most productive hours. For example, if you are not a morning person, be realistic and don’t set an alarm for 7:30 AM to start your day.
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. Also, when you take breaks, try to do some stretching or take a small walk around the house to get some physical activity.
How should I set up my workspace 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 stay focused on work, it is crucial to set a designated area where you will spend your working hours.
It does not matter whether your work desk is in the corner of a living room, an extra bedroom, or the attic. You can decide according to where you feel most comfortable and focused. 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 better focus in dim light.
One thing you shouldn’t overlook is your need for a calm space and in the majority, this depends on the following factors:
Size and composition of your household
If your household is a crowded one, working in a spare corner of the living room may lead you to lose focus easily. 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 will need quiet. Of course, with this type of communication comes the need for a steady and strong internet connection, too.
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, it’s likely time to get it under control. Firstly, start by figuring out what seems to distract you the most. News, social media, or your kids?
When you define what pulls you out of your workflow, you can plan 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 give yourself a specific window of time for scrolling on 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 and you’ll find it easier to avoid distractions and stay focused.
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.
On this installment of Ruulmates on the Mic, we welcome Nicole Baldinu for her insightful tips on how find success as an entrepreneur.... read more.
Find out how you can meet employee demands, and what kind of benefits you should offer to improve employee engagement, retention and satisfaction in your workplace.... read more.
This time on our exclusive interview series with our partners Ruulmates on the Mic, we welcome Ece Kurtaraner, a solo Community and Events Consultant based in Manchester.... read more.