With the recent remote work epidemic, working from home has gone from being an exception to a new norm for service providers. More and more coaches decide to quit renting an expensive office space and instead set up their workstations at home.
Though living and working in the same space has become the new normal, we’re still learning how to manage our productivity and well-being doing so.
In this guide, we’ll share all our best-kept secrets on how to stay focused while working from home as a coach.
Why Am I Struggling to Focus While Working From Home?
There are different reasons why you might find that you can’t focus while working from home. Most have to do with being in an environment optimized for your home life but not your work life.
If you find yourself distracted while working from home, it might be because…
Your Home Office is Noisy or Busy
A noisy street or a clingy pet might seem like a minor distraction, but even small interruptions can hinder your focus big time. A study by the University of California found that getting back on track can take over 23 minutes after being distracted. On an average working day, this can easily add up to hours.
Your Loved Ones Need Your Attention
Sharing a home office space with other family members can be challenging. Especially if you have different routines or clashing business calls in the same space. Kids can also fight for your attention very persistently if they need something or just want to be entertained.
You Feel Too Isolated
Though having company can deter your focus, having none can do the same by making you feel lonely. Working from home can be socially isolating and increase the risk of developing mental health issues, especially if you live on your own. Having no one to share your everyday successes and challenges with can eventually hinder your motivation and productivity
Your Daily Routine Isn’t Optimized for Work
Commuting to an office gives you the time to mentally prepare, leave your personal issues at home, and arrive fully prepared for your work day. When you start working from home, you can easily find yourself jumping straight into work in the morning or being distracted by stuff to do around the house.
How To Stay Focused While Working From Home
Now you have a better idea about what might be taking your mind off work, so let’s look at some strategies to tackle them. Here are some tips on how to stay focused while working from home.
Set Up a Dedicated Work Space
Even if your living space is limited, it’s important you separate the space you use for work from the spaces you use for rest and leisure. Clients might not be able to tell you’re conducting a session at the kitchen table, but compartmentalizing your environment helps to tell your brain when it needs to focus vs relax.
If you don’t have a separate room for your home office, you can still dedicate a corner to all your work activities that you can leave once the work for the day is done. If you live on a noisy street or with other people, you can use noise-canceling headphones and listen to ambient music or white noise to block distractions.
Set Your Boundaries
If you live with other people, you need to align your daily routine with their schedule so you don’t interrupt each other. Communicate your work hours clearly during business calls or client sessions.
If you have kids but no daycare, try to find ways to share the responsibility with other family members instead of taking it up alone. If your kids are a bit bigger, teach them that work time is work time and why it’s important.
Get Yourself Some Company
If working from home alone is too much, balance your schedule with more social activities. You can mix up your work schedule with a flexible coworking membership a few days a month. Or you can team up with other coaches and freelancers and occasionally work from each other’s home office.
Don’t forget to spend quality time with your friends and family outside of work either. Even a brisk walk after your lunch break or cooking dinner together can give you that boost to feel connected and balanced for another day of working solo.
Set Achievable Targets
Being distracted often involves a lack of motivation to tackle your tasks. Ask yourself whether your day-to-day tasks clearly connect to your larger vision and quarterly goals. Are you expecting too much of yourself on a given day?
Aim to set clear long-term goals for your coaching business first and then reverse engineer your smaller objectives from there. Make sure you only plan around 80% of your work capacity to have space for learning and dealing with unexpected challenges.
At the end of the week, dedicate 30-60 minutes to reviewing your successes and challenges, and carry those lessons over to the next week to do even better.
Optimize Your Work Schedule
Staying focused while working from home requires taking frequent breaks. One way to do this is to use a Pomodoro timer, which reminds you to take a short break after 25 or 50 minutes. Use these breaks to stand up and stretch or fix yourself another tea or coffee instead of being on your phone.
You can also set client sessions to 50 or 80 minutes to ensure you always have a short break between them. Paperbell’s Calendly integration makes scheduling your coaching sessions easy and saves time on all your other client management tasks.
You can also log your time spent on different work tasks for a week and note how long each took you to finish. This way, you can look back on Friday and see where your focus was off and what took you longer than expected.
Start a Morning Routine
A consistent morning routine is one of the most important habits for improved focus and productivity. What you do first thing in the morning influences your physical and mental well-being for the whole day, so you must carve out even just a few minutes for yourself.
Instead of jumping straight into work in the morning, you can develop a routine of…
- Doing yoga
- Journaling your thoughts and intentions
- Doing breathwork
- Sipping some tea or coffee on your balcony
- Or your own chosen mindfulness ritual
As long as you’re fully present while doing it, these daily morning routines can significantly lower your stress level and set you up for a day of maximum focus and productivity.
Develop Healthier Habits
One of the most common reasons for impaired concentration is sleep deprivation. An average adult needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night, but it’s not just the hours that count, the quality of your sleep, too. If you want to wake up more rested, make your bedroom a no-screen zone and start winding down (away from your home office) at least a few hours before bed.
You can further improve your focus by introducing more brain foods into your diets, such as…
- Salmon or other fatty fish
- Green, leafy veggies like spinach
Berries and nuts make perfect afternoon snacks too!
Refresh Your Brain During Work
Keep longer breaks once in a while, and make them count! A great excuse to take a walk and get some fresh air is to take a walking meeting (something that doesn’t need you to be at your desk) or call someone for a quick chat. Even light exercise can improve your motivation, memory, and mood.
If you feel sleepy after lunch, a 20-30-minute power nap or a guided meditation session can help you get back on track. Even better if you find out what your chronotype is so you can adjust your sleep time and productive hours according to your own rhythm.
How To Set up a Professional and Cozy Home Office
Here are a few tips on setting up your dedicated home office space optimized for your well-being and focus.
Get in The Right Angle
- Get a laptop elevator or monitor, external keyboard, and mouse to make sure you’re always sitting with a straight back
- Position the top of your screen at or a little bit below eye level
- Set your chair to the right height so that your arms are bent to 90 degrees when typing
- Try a padded mouse pad to relieve strain on your wrist
- Avoid facing any mirrors or a street window with too much bustle
Optimize Your Lighting
- Position your desk close to a window where you can get more natural light and some occasional fresh air
- Make sure you have sufficient lighting for those long winter nights, too
- Fix any flickering light — it can hinder your concentration even if it’s at the back of the room
- Experiment with different warmth of light bulbs: Warm yellow or orange lights are generally better for relaxing, while cool blue or white lights are better for concentrating
- Try a ring light to look extra professional on Zoom calls
- Download an app like f.lux to adapt the light temperature of your screen to the time of day
Breathe Some Life Into Your Space
- Adopting some plants is the easiest way to make your office space instantly cozier, and some even purify the air around you
- Decorate empty walls around your desk with photos that bring you joy or put up your vision board
- Surround yourself with soothing scents using a candle or a diffuser — minty and citrusy scents are especially great for enhancing focus
- Stack up on your favorite beverage that gets you in the zone — try some matcha to enhance your focus while lowering your stress levels
Get Into The Zone
- Get some noise-canceling headphones
- Experiment with playlists designed for focused work like ambient music or instrumental songs
- Put your pajamas away — your home office attire should be comfortable but sharp enough to get you in the mood for work, not nap time
- Disable notifications on all your devices
When to Seek Help
Our focus and energy levels naturally fluctuate, and it’s normal not to wake up as your most optimal self every single day. Depending on where you’re located, the change of the seasons can also affect your concentration level and mental health and expose you to the risk of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) during the winter months.
However, if you’re experiencing fatigue, a lack of motivation, and sleep issues regularly, you might want to check with a healthcare professional. Mental health issues and other conditions like ADHD can affect your focus negatively when they get unchecked.
Cut Your To-Do List Short With Paperbell
Besides staying focused working from home, you can also optimize your coaching business by automating some of your recurring tasks. Paperbell is an all-in-one client management tool that handles your complete onboarding flow and keeps all client information in one neat place.
From contract signing and payments to appointment scheduling, Papebell replaces most of your other work software and keeps your coaching business focused and organized. Try Paperbell now for free with your first client.