Working from home sounds like a dream for many, but it can be hard to put in place and keep your focus at the beginning. Many people are experiencing this for the first time now due to current health concerns. I've learned a lot of things from years of online classes, handling business at the desk in my bedroom, and doing teletherapy sessions either by phone or video chat. As an adult with ADHD, I've also picked up tricks to help me get things done. Whether you are now handling your job or school from home, I have a few tips that can help!
Set a specific work space.
This is especially important if you are sharing your space with someone else. My work space is the desk in my room. My husband's work space is his desk in a corner of the livingroom. Other options can be a kitchen table, a patio, or anywhere you can set up your equipment. Consider you may need to arrange things to minimize distraction, like facing a wall or setting up a room divider. Room dividers come in handy for video meetings, too! Try to keep your space organized for just the work-related things as much as possible. Do you need to play some white noise or ambient music in your space? This could help too.
Set specific times for work.
This one is two-fold. It's helpful to say, for example, you'll be working from 8-5, and before and after is home time. It's also helpful, however, to set timers as you try and focus on specific tasks. I usually set a timer for 25 minutes when I want to focus on something specific and, when the timer goes off, I get to take a 5 minute break. This can be to stretch, to walk around a little bit, to get a drink of water, or even check in with friends. But when the timer goes off again, it's time to focus! Writing down a list of what you hope to accomplish today is a good way to organize what you are focusing on next. Also, when I'm in timer mode, my phone goes face down to keep it from distracting me.
Browser tips for better focus.
I use different windows for each "mode" I have to be in to work. For example: my work email, records system for scheduling and notes, and payment processing sites are all tabs in one window. My school email, school website, and any related academic tabs are in another window. And anything personal goes in a third. Tabs can be distracting, especially when they aren't in the same focus as what you are doing. Keep the tabs where they belong and minimize the windows that don't apply right now. Also, check in with those tabs every so often. Do you still need this information up? Will you use this today? If not, bookmark anything you need to look at another time and close what you don't need.
Take it easy on yourself!
Whether working from home is in response to societal and global concerns or this is just a new experience for you, take that into account! You're dealing with a lot of transition right now. Resist the pressure to do all of your work plus all of the house work at once. Listen to your mind and body when it asks for a break. Take a moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and offer yourself some encouragement. And reach out to your social network when you want to get or give some support!
I hope these tips have helped you regardless of the situation you find yourself in right now. If the stresses are complicating each other for you right now, talking to a professional might help. Feel free to reach out to me if I might be that professional for you!
Stephanie Bloodworth, LMFT-A