5 Strategies to Get Back That Lost Focus!
Getting back to your desk after a long parenting break of 2 or 3 years can be difficult. Picture this: You have constantly been on your toes behind your toddler the entire day. You have probably not really sat at one spot for more than 10 minutes. If you have a super hyper kid, 10 minutes is a stretch for you. Now you are getting back to your desk, and you are not able to focus because you are restless about sitting at your desk for long.
I have been in a similar situation, and following the strategies mentioned below helped me focus.
Let me tell you right away that some of these strategies help in cases of working from home, and some of them are good enough working from anywhere.
Get out of your PJs (if you are working from home)
A lot of you may have mastered the art of working in pyjamas, but, I strongly feel PJs still give you a feeling of lounging around. They drag your mind back to the couch. I have spent a lot of time trying to work in PJs, but every single time I have found myself back to my lounging chair. What has instead worked for me is a shower in the morning followed by a healthy breakfast and definitely dressing up in workwear. I work from a home office and dressing up as if I was ready to go to work elsewhere gives me a real kick. Just the kind of kick needed to start the work day. It automatically sets your mind in the work mode. Try this strategy and see the confidence walk back into you!
Clear distinction between your workspace and home (if you are working from home)
Create a clear distinction between your home office and the rest of your home. If your home spills into your work area, your work will suffer. Close the door, put up a separation, anything that cuts off your home space from your workspace, at least mentally. **Note that your kids may still crash your workplace if you forget to close the door. Remember the BBC Interview?**
Set up a clear to-do list
I had mentioned in another post about how much you must love your procrastination, but that post was under the tag of ‘humor.’ You get the drift right? ;) Setting up a clear to-do list gives a lot of clarity on how your day may look like. Remember, you have taken a break from a desk job and the motive is to get undistracted attention to your work while sitting at a desk. Eat that frog right in the morning (after your breakfast), and you should be set for the rest of the day if you have your to-dos all at one place.
After a few years of running around behind a super-active kid, it could be really difficult to sit at a place and focus. Without distraction. Without a wavering mind. Without thinking of dinner. Without worrying about the new nanny. It is a daunting task. What has worked for me are short bursts of focused work, and nothing better than the Pomodoro Technique. It allows you to time your work and break it down to intervals, generally around 25 minutes length with short breaks. I’ve seen my entrepreneur husband go gaga about this technique, and I have found it helpful for myself too!
Get a timer for yourself. You really will love the tomato on your desk!
Take breaks while in the middle of a task
This may sound a little off given that I mentioned the Pomodoro method above. However, after the Pomodoro stretch(or before, depending on when you are doing your Pomodoro), do take breaks. Remember, you are a human, and you are training yourself to be in a kind of a mindset different from the one you were in for a long time. Therefore, you will need your breaks so that you are more productive. You will not get drained easily, and you will be able to focus better.
One important note here is to take a break while in the middle of a task. That way, when you come back to your desk, you don’t dilly-dally and jaywalk on the internet. You dive straight into your work. (Keep that work-tab open though).
These few techniques have helped me get back to my work schedule after a long break. Try them and let me know if you have any more to add to this list!