How to Stay Focused While Working From Home
In the early stages of the pandemic, the realities of indefinite remote work were not yet clear. For many, myself included, the setup sounded ideal at first: no commute, pajamas all day, no set breaks, and a break from the commute. Now, as many people no longer have an office to go to and remote work becoming is standard practice, brain fog, fatigue, and burnout have surfaced as important issues affecting many remote employees.
“It’s harder now to compartmentalize our lives — work versus personal. When you work from home, your attention’s split — your dog’s barking, your partner might be working next to you, your children are running around — your concentration demands more emotional energy,” explains Kelcey Stratton, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at Michigan Medicine. “By the end of the day, we’re drained.”
Meetings in person were never fun. But we didn’t realize that the break from your screen, the human interaction in real-time conversations, was more important than we could have anticipated. The term ‘brain fog’ has been more prevalent. What’s brain fog? Lack of focus, procrastination, cloudy head and poor memory is what brain fog feels like for most. Many ask, is brain fog a symptom of anxiety? What are the reasons for brain fog? Is there a cure for brain fog? You can read more about that here.
Instead of in-person interactions or conversations, we constantly rely on computers and phones to stay connected. “We’re experiencing some technology fatigue, too, because we’re using it in every aspect of our lives now,” Stratton says.
We get distracted from work, and go to Instagram. Go back to work. Use apps on our phones for workouts, dating, and even meditation. Then ‘relax’ by switching to the TV. Not to mention the constant stream of alarming news we are bombarded with.
Rather than looking for a natural energy boost, people are drinking more coffee and using stimulants, which only exacerbates the problem in the long term.
Constant notifications, less movement, lack of human interaction- how do we increase our focus and energy levels naturally to make working from home flow better? How can you improve your lifestyle to stay sharp, focused, and productive? Are there coffee alternatives for energy? Are there supplements for natural energy?
Firstly, let’s look at the focus KILLERS
What are the Reasons for Brain Fog?
1. Caffeine and Sugar
Most drink coffee or reach for sugary snacks because it makes them feel more alert and improves their mood. Many studies suggest that caffeine actually improves cognitive task performance (memory, attention span, etc.) in the short term. But, what comes up must come down! As well as having anxiety and the jitters to deal with, John Hopkins researchers found that caffeine-related performance improvement is nonexistent without caffeine withdrawal - coming off caffeine reduces your cognitive performance and has a negative impact on your mood. Try switching to caffeine alternatives for energy, or timing your coffee to utilize your natural energy levels. See here for more details.
2. Poor Sleep
Scientists have found that sleep deprivation leads to lower alertness and concentration. This affects your ability to perform tasks that require logical reasoning or complex thought.
Having social media notifications, emails, delivery notifications, phone calls and texts pinging throughout the day is obviously distracting. Even if you don’t respond, you are breaking your focus and if you do, you are losing focus switching from task to task and making less progress on the important stuff.
4. Lack of Schedule/Structure
Not having set office hours, or set times to leave the house/to eat/to exercise can lead to procrastination and jumping from task to task.
5. Too Much Screen Time
Some research suggests that excessive screen time has a negative impact on attention. One study followed over 2,000 high-schoolers in Los Angeles over two years and found that frequent use of digital media had a statistically significant relationship with the development of symptoms of ADHD.
One of the biggest causes of brain fog is dehydration - there's evidence that too little water can impact cognitive performance, making complex thinking tasks harder.
11 Tips to Increase Focus and Energy Naturally
1. Wait 1-4 hours before drinking coffee to utilize your body’s circadian rhythm, which will give you a natural energy boost.
2. Drink coffee alternatives for energy like Powderful which will help you stay focused and provide hydration. Using a high quality supplement for energy and focus could reduce your cravings for coffee.
3. Get sunlight in your eyes within 30 mins of waking - this signals your body to release hormones to make you feel alert. Another natural energy boost!
4. Move your body - get those endorphins flowing with as little as 20 mins of moderate exercise.
5. When you’re ready to work, all notifications off and minimize distractions.
6. Avoid sugary snacks which can lead to a crash in energy - focus on nutrient-dense, low GI foods.
7. Try the Pomodoro Technique - 1 hour on focused work time, then take a break with no screen time. Eat energizing foods, meditate, and move your body in your breaks!
8. Hydrate - 2 liters of water every day, more if you exercise. Some caffeine alternatives for energy mix into your water, so you kill 2 birds with one stone!
9. Prioritize what is important for you to complete. Schedule times for other tasks such as online shopping or cleaning, which are easy ways for us to procrastinate. This will also help to alleviate stress, and give you that dopamine rush when you actually complete something!
10. Prioritize 8 hours of sleep every night. Avoid bright light and screens for 1 hour before bed. Blue light can trick your body into thinking it is daytime, making it harder to fall asleep.
11. Avoid coffee after lunch and stick to coffee alternatives- if you need to energize, get up and move your body or meditate. This will also help your sleep, and lack of sleep is also a major cause of brain fog.
The necessity for technology in your working day, and remote working is unlikely to go away any time soon. But making small changes to your lifestyle could increase your focus and energy, helping you to get through tasks faster and feel less stressed in the process!
Did these tips help you? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM us @bepowderful.