I used to think that working from home would be the best — until I actually started doing it. Opening my own skincare business was truly a dream come true, but I quickly realised that I am a one-woman operation and there's an ample amount of paperwork that needs to be done to keep everything running. To be frank, I was misinformed and certainly naive to think it would be easy-breezy to work from home without instilling a strict routine — especially when my partner, who is a restaurateur, works from home on occasion as well. I quickly learned that if I wanted to maintain this lifestyle, I had to get serious and create a plan that facilitated laser-like focus and supreme productivity. So how did I do it? The three tactics I applied had little to do with setting a tough schedule and so much more with my state of mind and body.
I Listen to Binaural Beats
According to a 2016 study published online by PLoS One, binaural beats utilise a different tone frequency sent to each ear; upon hearing the two different frequencies, your brain reacts by interpreting them as a third consistent sound, which can enhance memory and concentration while working. The findings in a four-week study published in 2001 on Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine also suggests that binaural beats ease mild anxiety and stress by calming the mind through tone, which should allow you to better focus on the task at hand.
In my experience, listening to soothing, repetitive sounds has helped act as a distraction from random thoughts (should I take a break now or later? will I ever complete my never-ending to-do list? what's for dinner?) from invading my mind at the most inopportune time. Listening to the beats protects my focus and has been a serious game changer while working alone. Spotify's two-hour Binaural Beats Focus playlist is my favourite because it's the perfect length to accomplish a few tasks without going stir crazy.
I Make Sure to Stay Hydrated
Since I was a teen, right after I wake up, I drink a tall glass of water with a slice of lemon as part of my morning ritual. Staying hydrated is vital, as it aids with your body's optimal daily functioning, preventing fatigue, hunger, and even irritability. A 2013 study by ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal also shows water is essential for enhanced memory and attentiveness, so I make sure I drink the recommended daily dosage (around 64 to 80 ounces a day). It sounds quite dramatic to think something as simple as keeping your body hydrated while working can improve your focus, but research doesn't lie, and it's something most of us tend to overlook.
I Reserve a Work-Only Space at Home
In my experience, designating a space in your home for work keeps procrastination away. Lounging on the couch or in bed while working set me up for failure. I've woken up from an accidental two-hour nap, dazed and confused, with not an ounce of work completed. Working from the same space everyday tricks my mind into thinking it's "work time."