It’s not always easy to be productive at work. Whether you’re working from home or in an office, you can quickly become distracted by even the slightest interruption. You might check your phone for a two minute break, and suddenly find yourself 30 minutes deep in social media. Maybe someone around you, a coworker or a family member, comes to you with a problem that takes you away from your own priorities. Regardless of the nature of the interruption, it has the capacity to distract us. This distraction may not only affect you in the moment, but also in an ongoing way. This makes it harder to regain focus once the distraction is gone. 

For those struggling with maintaining their focus at work, here are 4 tips to help you stay alert and productive when those lines between home and work become blurred. 

1. Maintain a morning routine

Studies have shown that providing more structure to your daily routine helps your brain stay focused and in the moment throughout the day. Therefore, keeping a morning routine is one of the easiest ways to get into the right mindset for a day of work. If you used to work in an office but have been working from home for a while, it may still feel difficult to get into that mindset each morning without the familiar change of scenery you get from going into the office. To combat this slow start to the day, try committing to a regular routine like you would do if you had to commute to work. 

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should pretend like you have to leave the house each day. Rather, the focus is on consistency: however you like to prepare for work, make it the same every day and try your best to stick to it. 

For example, start the day by hydrating with at least one large cup of water. Then, take the time to get dressed and look presentable. You may need to set your alarm a little earlier than you normally do, so that you have time to get ready properly. Going to the office in your pajamas wouldn’t be acceptable, so try holding yourself to that same standard at home as well. 

Next, before you begin work, take time to reflect on the previous day and what’s upcoming for today. Journaling to get down your thoughts and organize your priorities can be a good way of cleansing your mind, readying your brain for a full day of productivity. 

2. Designate your workspace

One of the easiest ways to lose focus at work is when work feels too much like home. Everyone’s home office situation is different, and some people aren’t able to section off an entire room or designate a spare bedroom as the “home office” for the time being. However, you can still do your best to clearly separate your workspace from your home. 

During the workday, ensure you can clearly see where “work” is and where “home” is. Clear your workspace of any physical distractions. Don’t allow yourself to bring “home” distractions – like the sound of the TV, your personal computer, or any leisure reading material – into that space. 

Distractions are not just physical items – they are also the things you have to do throughout the day. If you take a personal call, or do something else not related to work, get up and take it to another area of the house. You can even leave the house entirely if you want. The point here is to train your brain into making the distinction between when you are working and when you are not. This will allow you to feel more productive and focused when you are in that “work” space, and free your brain for leisure activities when “work” has been packed away. 

3. Maintain standard work hours

In the same vein, one of the easiest ways to lose productivity at work is by getting into the mindset of, “I’ll do it later.” When working from home, it can become very easy to put things off, because you can always come back to them later. “Later” could be an hour from now, after dinner, or even late at night. 

Make a rule for yourself: When you’re done for the day, you’re done. Physically packing up your workspace at the end of the workday and turning off notifications on your work devices can be a great way of signalling to your brain that you won’t be doing any more work until tomorrow. If you know you won’t be sitting right back down at your desk after dinner, or you know you won’t be talking to your colleagues again until tomorrow, you are much more likely to feel productive and put pressure on yourself to get stuff done during work hours. 

4. Take frequent breaks

This last tip is true for anyone who works during the day, regardless of whether you’re in an office at home. One of the most common reasons why people feel less productive at work is because they don’t take breaks nearly often enough.

Strive to take a ten minute break every hour, during which you can step away from work and do a quick activity to help boost your brainpower. Try doing a 10-minute stretch or Yoga session, squeeze in a quick workout, or just get outside for a few minutes for fresh air. By changing up your surroundings and getting your body moving for a few minutes each hour, you will invoke fresh stimulation to your brain. This helps you stay more alert. 

Taking a quick snack break is another great way to break up the monotony of the work day. Keeping a few healthy snacks on hand throughout the day can help improve your mood, keep hunger at bay, and increase your mental alertness, making you feel more invigorated and energized. For an even better use of time, try making snacks in batches over the weekend so you have them ready to go throughout the work week. 

For a boost of protein and fiber, you could try this recipe for roasted chickpeas. Or, for a no-bake option, give these homemade trail mix granola bars a go. 

If you’re craving something a little bit sweeter to get you through that mid-day slump, try biocbd+ Organic Fruit Slices. They are sweet, delicious CBD gummies made with natural, vegan ingredients and infused with broad-spectrum CBD for a pick-me-up that’s good for your body and spirit.

Taking care of yourself comes first

It’s important to show up at work refreshed and focused each day, for both yourself and your colleagues. However, you can’t do your best work if you’re not taking care of your physical and mental state. Getting burned out is easier than ever if you struggle to separate your work life from your home life. 

Learn to listen to the needs of both your body and your mind. Know when to power down, step away, or just take a moment to refresh. You’ll come back to the table more alert, more focused, and ready to give it your all.