As someone who’s worked from home for nearly six years, I had a bit of an advantage over most when COVID changed “office life” to “work from home” life. That being said, I did have some adjusting to do earlier this year – and quite frankly – throughout this summer.

One of the key elements of the WFH life is that fact that you have the freedom to get out and about to work from anywhere. COVID, however, took away my remote work days from local cafes, hotel lobbies and restaurants, which meant I too had to work on adjusting to the “always at home” life.

Here are a few of my go-to tactics for staying focused while all the distractions of home abound:

1. Morning routine has to stay on point.

Every morning I get up, take the dogs out, make my coffee and then sit down to journal. Sometimes it’s 10 pages of all the feelings and thoughts, and some days it’s just one. Either way though, I always end on a positive note listing things in my life that are good.

From the simple Golden Girls coffee mug that makes me insanely happy to drink from to the fact that I have an outdoor living room where I can work. Ending each journal session on a positive note sets the tone for my day.

2. Running. (Like a lot.)

Last year I found great mental and emotional benefits from running after going through a particularly difficult time in my life. I found that when I push myself physically, any emotional or intellectual challenges that had been bothering me tend to fall away. I can think clearer and be more present in my body – and the moment. Soon, feeling physically strong became directly connected to emotional strength.

Now during COVID19, I find even more benefits from these runs because they allow me to not only get outside and push myself, but also a chance to safely socialize with neighbors. The simple wave or hello as I am running through my community is a fantastic way to stay connected with others, yet still socially safe.

I’ve even completed three half marathons virtually to replace the in-person version that got cancelled due to COVID19. By continuing to push through with both of those races, even though it was just me running alone, gave me a goal to work towards and the sense of accomplishment spills over into so many areas of my life. When we are happier and relaxed, we work more effectively and creatively, which leads to happier clients and more success.

3. Giving myself a pass.

This one is MUCH harder said than done, but is also just as necessary. Often I find myself with laser like focus one day, killing the to do list, and totally crushing my business goals only to feel the exact opposite the next day. As a Type A personality and Enneagram #3, the very facets of my personality that serve me well in entrepreneurship can also equally work against me.

Why? Because my brain sees those focused and successful days as the “real” me and the lazy, unfocused days as “slacker me,” which is pretty harsh. If I had a client feel this way, I wouldn’t hesitate to tell them to show themselves some grace and just get up the next day and try again. It’s just one day after all!

Yet providing myself this same amount of grace has been a challenge. That being said, with so much out of our control with this pandemic, my reactions to my own behavior are 100% within my control and focusing on that has allowed this entrepreneur to relax a little and drink her own “give yourself grace” Kool Aid.

It’s a work in progress, but each slacker day is usually preceded (or followed) by a few very focused days so I’m giving myself a pass when I’d rather watch Netflix or play with my dogs than sit at my computer.

What have you found to an effective way to stay focused?


Channing Muller is an award winning marketing & public relations consultant and the principal of DCM Communications, based out of Chicago. She works with event professionals and business owners to grow and scale their businesses with refined marketing strategies developed through one-on-one and group consulting, customized marketing programs and public relations. She has been named a "25 Young Event Pro to Watch" by Special Events magazine and "40 Under 40" by Connect Meetings. Channing is an avid runner, lover of Labrador Retrievers, good food, delicious drinks, and an advocate for the American Heart Association.

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