Over the past few weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic has turned everything upside down. There’s a lot of fear and uncertainty swirling around as we adjust to this new normal.
Our homes are now office spaces, schools, entertainment complexes, gyms, restaurants and a place to rest our heads at the end of the day. It’s a lot. This new duality in our spaces can cause our already dwindling attention spans to plummet even further.
I know many of us are working from home now, some for the very first time and that presents its own challenges. So I want to share a few ways to find focus while social distancing.
Lean Into Your Routine
Routines create normalcy and give us a sense of control. This is important during a time like now where nothing is normal and everything feels beyond our control. You may even find that you need to tweak your routine to reflect what’s happening in your life right now.
My morning routine helps me slow down and quiet my mind before I jump into work. It consists of 4 simple things: exercise, meditation, journaling, and setting my intention for the day. I have this set up as a recurring task in ClickUp (my project manager) and I check off each thing as I complete it.
On the days that I skip over a few steps and get straight into my work, I feel unfocused and scattered. Taking the time to mentally prepare myself if one way that I’m protecting myself from burn out.
If you don’t have a routine for how you start your day, I suggest you get one. It can be anything that helps you set the tone and get into the right headspace. A really good book about morning routines is The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod.
Utilize Tech Tools For Support
You don’t have to rely solely on your own will power and motivation to get focused. There are plenty of tech tools to help you get and stay focused.
A few that you might want to look into are distraction blockers, Pomodoro timers, and focus music.
- Distraction blockers
Limit Your Consumption Of The News
In the last three weeks, I have learned:
- You can consume less news and still be informed.
- You don’t need an hourly breakdown of the latest infection rates or the growing number of fatalities.
- You can stop reading all of the announcements from friends impacted by the Coronavirus on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Obsessing over the numbers and what’s happening is terrible for your mental health. It also is not helping you focus. Give yourself rules around how you’d like to stay informed and how often. Then, stick to that.
I have personally removed social media apps from my phone to reduce my temptation to scroll endlessly. I’m also briefly checking the news in the morning and logging off of those sites for the remainder of the day. You have to do what you need to do to protect yourself.
Bottom line: keeping up with the latest breaking news isn’t going to change much. Do yourself a favor and consume less.
If you’re looking for good news, John Krasinki (from The Office) just launched a YouTube channel dedicated to sharing good news.
Schedule Deep Work Time
Sometimes you need to block your calendar for an hour, put on headphones and get to work. The first couple of times you may only stay focused for 20 or 30 minutes, but the more you practice the easier it will be to get right to work.
Try to get in 1 solid hour of focused work in a couple of times a week. This is crucial. Use the hour to focus on your business growth. Committing to doing this 5 days a week means you’ll do 5 hours of growth-focused work.
Since many of us are social distancing with multiple people, it’s more important than ever to ensure you have deep work time.
Allow Yourself To Take A Break
I know this sounds counterproductive to what you’re trying to do but hear me out. Working from home can blur the boundaries between work and play. It’s really easy to let work or thinking about work spill over into non-work time.
A few ways to combat that are:
- Set office hours and stick to them. Don’t work outside of those hours.
- Don’t allow hustlers guilt to make you feel like you should be working.
- Schedule virtual connection time with family and friends.
- Stretch and drink plenty of water.
- Take naps. This helps your focus.
Remember you need time away to perform at your best. Breaks are your insurance policy against burnout.
What are some ways that you find focus during a crisis or stressful time? Share a few ideas in the comments.