How Not To Lose Focus While Teleworking

lasy in pink working from home office olooking at mobile phone

by Aakash Gupta

Even before the Covid -19 pandemic hit us, over 4.7 million people were working remotely around the globe. It’s safe to say that teleworking is the new normal. Whether that location is your home base, a coworking space, or the café down your street, one of the biggest issues reported by workers is battling loneliness.

According to Flexjobs, 75% of remote workers report being more productive without office distractions. Further to the point earlier about feeling cut off, however, you wouldn’t be at fault for craving social contact. The means of achieving it can be questionable, though, especially if you spend time scrolling through social media or mindless web surfing. What starts out innocently as a quick check-in or break turns into hours that eat into company time.

So here are a few tips to help you stay focused when you’re working remotely, whether you’re experienced, or new to it!

1. Create a dedicated work area

Reevaluate your workstation arrangements. Where you work says a lot about your style of working, movements, and comfort. Depending on the equipment you’ll need, in the form of monitors, desktops, keyboards, and other devices, ensure that you have the space to accommodate them without cluttering up your living space. An ordered and organized desk makes it easier for you to get into that productivity mindset, given that everything has a place. You know where to look for what you’re going to need, be it a notepad and pen to jot down notes on the fly, or hardware and software.

The ideal location gets plenty of light and cross-ventilation. Surround yourself with calming personal effects, such as a potted plant or photos. Do not compromise on ergonomic comfort, especially if yours is a desk job or standing station that you’ll spend a few hours on. Invest in a chair with height and posture adjustments so that your eyes, spine, neck, and fingers are at optimal positions.

2.Block out digital distractions

Digital distractions refer to websites and platforms that are irrelevant to work. You can use remote management tools such as or Freedom. Before doing so, find out your productivity window, i.e. the hours that you have observed you get most of your work done. This way, you’re allowing yourself breaks without eating into company time. Krisp mutes background noises which are helpful during work calls. After all, you can’t afford to lose track of what individual speakers are talking about. Freedom detects sites and pop-ups and blocks addictive applications and games while you’re working so that you’re discouraged from going to them.

3. Time timed breaks

According to Airtasker, 37% of remote workers report being more productive by taking regular breaks. This is echoed in a Forbes article that states that the pulse and pause technique helps people recharge while remaining deadline-conscious. Space out your breaks and take them in fixed times within the working window so that you can cultivate predictability into the overall routine. Categorize breaks by mealtimes, workouts, or just a quick lounge or social visit so that you’re mindful of how much time each break takes. You can even plan ahead for contingencies. For example, meal prepping the night before can reduce your cooking time the next day, and allow you to savor the meal instead of rushing through it in order to not waste another minute. This is an optimization measure that lets you get the most out of the time you take off during work.

4. Repurpose your priorities

Structure your day around priorities. Get onto a call with your manager and try to give as realistic an expectation for when work can be completed. If you flip sides, a remote manager should convey goals through a unified platform that is accessible to all concerned team members. Reach a consensus on what you’ll be delegating and to whom. This is also the part where team members determine how to distribute work amongst themselves, and the levels and channels for resolving bottlenecks. Check-in with members routinely and institute guidelines for reporting and reverting. Don’t narrow down estimates when you know a task is inclined to be more time consuming, or labor-intensive. Hash out the schedule with coworkers who will either finish before or after you.  Pin priorities in a place for all to see and revisit as and when required so that they can align their efforts to progress made. Keep the lines of communication open as and when you make changes so that other teammates are not thrown off track and end up being overloaded or uninformed.

5. Have ‘the talk’ with the others

If you’re living on your own, this point may not apply to you. But if your living arrangements include sharing space with family, friends or housemates, schedule a talk with them to clarify times that you’ll be busy and need them to attend to personal matters. This will be harder with young children or pets, but consistency is key to instilling discipline. Create ground rules as well as contingencies for when you can be interrupted. Explain to the people around you the type of support you expect so that you don’t lose focus. You’ll find that communicating your needs and hearing what others feel about it will make your work environment at home more harmonious!

About the author

Aakash Gupta is a digital marketing expert and author behind Sorry,I was On Mute. As a serial entrepreneur with a passion for productivity tips when teleworking, he has authored posts for business and project management.