How to Stay Focused When Working from Home


Read the full episode transcript below:

00:28 David Blackmon: Hey everybody, welcome to another episode of WP The Podcast, I’m David Blackmon

00:35 Tim Strifler: And i’m Tim Streifler

00:38 David Blackmon: Today we’re going to talk about, how to stay focused when you’re working from home. A couple years ago 2020 i would say the majority of workers didn’t work from home most of them worked in an office. Pandemic hit life’s changed and Tim and i have known forever that no matter what type of business you have unless you’re building some kind of product or something that you can work from home. If you had a computer at your office and you were an office worker with a computer you could do it at home. We’ve known this for a while now what what can you do to stay focused? You got all the distractions of home, and you know your hobbies, your family. You know.. If you got kids it’s going to be kids your spouse whatever there can be potentially a lot of distractions just to when working from home. What are some things that you can do to stay focused Tim you started?

01:45 Tim Strifler:

Yeah so i really quick, i want to say when before the pandemic, as David mentioned, we’ve both been working home for for years before the pandemic. And i would you know meet people and tell them oh yeah i work from home i have my own business blah blah blah, i’m like oh i couldn’t do that like i couldn’t work from home, i just gonna do it like it would just be too hard to get work done blah blah. And i would hear that so often and so and and there was definitely times where it would be hard, and i had to adapt and things i had to do and change and stuff. But um when the pandemic hit, everyone started working from home as David mentioned, and it was like all of a sudden like people were asking for tips and stuff. And everyone was having to learn how to work from home. They didn’t have a choice. They had to do it and so yeah it’s just interesting now it’s like you’re seeing people go back to work or working hybrid. Um a family member of mine just got a new job and uh he’s gonna be working from home most of the time. He’s gonna have to go in uh one to two days a week, brand new job, and it’s like a hybrid. And that’s that’s going to be the new norm where it’s going to be fully at home or hybrids and stuff like that. And so um yeah, so whether you have your own business or you’re working from home for an existing business, here’s some of the tips that we learned. My biggest tip that i can say is have a dedicated work area. Right if you have an entire room that can be your office awesome! If not that’s okay have a dedicated corner of the room. Right if you’re working in your bedroom have a desk in the corner of the room that’s your work area and you don’t go and hang out there when you’re not working, and you don’t work in other areas of your house. And it’s a mental thing being able to separate your work time and your workplace from your rest. And you know, relax time and relax place. Right? The way the human brain works is place like location is is uh a big deal like it associates place. Like if you think about it, like when you hear a song that maybe you uh you knew like five years ago right all of a sudden when you start hearing that song that you haven’t heard from a while, it’s like it’s gonna you’ll think of the place where you were listening to it, and it like your brain location is highly. Yeah it’s a big deal in your brain and so if you can have a workplace and a rest place it’s gonna help you focus, and transition so much better than if you work on your bed or you work on your couch and stuff. And there’s no separation it’ll be really hard to stay focused, and you’re gonna get distracted a lot. So that’s my number one tip i have a couple others too i’ll like all the David talk though.

04:17 David Blackmon: Yeah uh man, i had my main one that i was gonna say as you were talking i was listening to you and i totally forgot it, but you know i i’ve got a million other. Um you know the first one that comes to my mind outside of what Tim said, is if you have family members or other people in the home, you need to set some expectations with them. Some boundaries. This is my work time, you know if there’s an emergency here’s what you know, set up some protocols, some basic protocols and stuff. Because otherwise if you have kids for example and you are mom or dad, kid’s not associating work. You’re at home there’s mom or dad and i can go to them anytime, any you know, with anything. And that can be relly really distracting and take you away from your work environment and stuff. So you know, letting them know when i am in this dedicated space, that Tim’s talking about, it’s kind of a no no-fly zone unless there’s an emergency. You know um, doesn’t mean that they can’t you know but just as long as you set those expectations up and stuff. I think that’s really really important what’s your best one Tim?

05:33 Tim Strifler: Definitely, and it’s hard with young kids like my son. He’s gonna be two in august and he’s  just now at the point where he can open up, he figured out how to open up my office door, and so i hear him you know walking and then jiggling the door, he’s still getting the hang of it and he opens the door.  So i’m like okay i’m gonna have to start locking that door because he’s old enough to be able to do that, but not quite old enough to fully understand that like “oh daddy’s working”. Yeah they don’t have that concept right? So my next tip is, if you’re watching on youtube you’ll be able to see this it’s invest in a good pair of noise cancelling headphones this is a lifesaver. This is especially true if you have kids or spouse or roommates other people that are going to be around when you’re trying to get work done. Invest in a good pair of noise canceling headphones. Now i typically i’m not one that likes to listen to music when i’m working i love music but it’s too distracting for me in general. So the only thing i can listen to is instrumental like piano or classical or something like that that’s not distracting to me. Anything with with lyrics and vocals Um it’s distracting and so i have uh normally we listen to Spotify but for work i Pndora on my computer and i have peaceful piano radio station queued up and then as soon as i sit at my desk put put my headphones on and put on a peaceful piano, and then you know, it’s loud enough to where i can’t hear anything else. The noise cancelling helps and i’m able to get in the zone and get focused so that’s been a huge thing which again i’ve been working from home for what six seven years now, and i just only just started using these since having a kid and having my wife at home. My wife you know would be working out of the out of the house and so now that she’s at home with my son it became a necessity so..

07:23 David Blackmon: Well Tim is total opposite of me with the music stuff. I’m usually blaring rap out of the speakers and rock and Spotify and all my favorite songs.. 

07:33 Tim Strifler: Yeah um i can’t do a lot of work, love it yeah outside of work but yeah

07:38 David Blackmon:  Yeah and and it’s just different. Now my next recommendation is gonna sound counterproductive you know, how can this help you stay focused. You got to focus on work when you’re in work mode you need to your physical health and stuff and mental. All matters and one way that can help you stay focused is to take some breaks throughout the day. And take a walk. You know i used to go and walk outside 15 minutes every you know few hours. I would just take a nice short 15-20 minute walk and it was amazing at how you know focus you could come back and get things done, as opposed to barreling through eight hours. I’m in this cave of a room here and i’m just you think that if you’re in there you’re gonna stay focused and stuff, but you’re you’re really not you really need to give your mind a break. Come back to things and stuff and um and it’ll work out a whole lot better for you.

08:45 Tim Strifler: Yeah almost every day as long as the weather is nice i eat outside. And so i like to get some sun and i I don’t,  it’s not like a at least for me i can’t if i like totally you know turn off work mode and take a break, it’s hard for me to get back into work with. So i’m i still am in work mode right when i’m taking a lunch break, but it’s like a change of place, a change of scenery. And it’s usually like you know kind of thinking through things and processing and stuff. And then i come back and now i can go and actually like get it done. I’ve just been kind of you know planning out my head and stuff.  But yeah, and then i guess that leads me to my last one which we kind of touched on in other ways, but David mentioned having work hours and stuff. That’s hugely important. At least for me like when it’s 5 p.m i’m done then i’m in family mode i don’t think about work too much i can still get like slack messages from my team and stuff, and kind of keep tabs on stuff. But it’s very minimal. I have that clear separation. So it’s a clear like location separation you know workplace home place relax place and then also time-based separation too, where it’s like it’s the weekend i’m not working. Obviously there’s certain times deadlines things come up you have to but having dedicated work time where you do work, and and dedicated time where you don’t work, i think it’s hugely important for being able to stay focused when working from home. Because if you think about it, if you work for another company and you have an office, you go home and that’s it. Right? You don’t typically work from home right at least i never did. I’m not gonna you know take up my weekend working for someone else you know, and i’m not getting paid anything extra for. Obviously you know, there’s different jobs and careers but that’s kind of more expected. Um but it’s like if i’m gonna be working on the weekend i want it to be for my business right not for someone else.

10:33 David Blackmon: Well we hope those tips have helped you with staying focused while working at home. I think there’s a lot more people doing that than there ever has been, and i expect it to that number to increase more and more as as time goes by, and technology advances. Um personally i believe we’re all going to be in virtual environments with eye goggles on and Tim’s going to be sitting right next to me in the same room recording this podcast in the future. So hey there’s a glimpse of what it’s going to be like in the future. Um tomorrow we’ve got another great episode, how to search any WordpPress website until tomorrow we’ll see you then.

11:17  Tim Strifler: Take care bye-bye

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