If you’re someone who works from home, then you’re probably aware that there are a multitude of distractions around you. It can be difficult to concentrate on the task at hand without some strategy and self-discipline. There are so many benefits of working at home -- it’s literally a ten-second commute -- if that -- hello!
Working from home allows flexibility, being in the comfort of your own home and taking breaks on your own accord. Still, with those positives come negatives -- it’s easy to become lazy without the structure and routine of working in an office.
The guidelines and repercussions seem heavier when working outside of your home, causing a potential lack of motivation and energy. Not to mention, your bed is literally right in the other room, inviting you for an afternoon nap; now that’s tempting! Forbes recommends figuring out if you are cut out to work at home before doing it. It takes someone with time management and organizational skills as well as discipline to begin and finish tasks. So, how can you focus better throughout the day when your home is your office?
1. Create a List of Your Daily Tasks and Take Adequate Breaks!
Forbes recommends creating a day-to-day work schedule -- this will keep you on the right track and it’s helpful to prioritize each task and its importance. Keep in mind that it may take some time to find the correct balance between taking enough breaks and setting enough time to be productive. A lack of breaks can cause you to become lethargic and uninspired. It’s important to take enough breaks in order to recharge and reset your mind, but not too many in the sense that you become distracted. What you do during your breaks matters, too. Taking a 15-30 minute break to take a brisk walk or stretch your legs is very effective and can rejuvenate your energy.
Drinking water (always stay hydrated!) and putting together a plate filled with healthy fruits, veggies and hummus is a great idea, too (here’s a list of the 10 foods/snacks that promote productivity and brain power)! Try to avoid indulging in entertainment such as television or games on your phone, as you might accidentally let the time slip by.
The New York Times discusses using the S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound) approach when curating your daily tasks. Again, if you are a list-maker, don’t hesitate to make lists for anything and everything! Lists provide a sense of organization and structure. Additionally, The New York Times offers some helpful advice: the 25-5-25 method, which is when an individual completes a task within 25 minutes, takes a 5 minute break and so on.
3. Pick a Productive Place to Work in Your Home
To avoid growing tired and lazy, try not to work from home on the couch or your bed. It’s okay to be in a relaxed, comfortable setting in your house but make sure it’s not too relaxed and comfortable, otherwise you might want to take a nap! The New York Times stresses the importance of ‘not sleeping at work’ and setting up space for your ‘at home office’ -- don’t you dare open up that laptop in bed for work-related tasks!
Find a place outside or in the sunlight with little to no distractions around you -- you know yourself best and it’s up to you to efficiently prepare for the workday by eliminating potential distractions (turn off or disconnect your phone and make sure people know not to bother you at home). Furthermore, The New York Times reiterates the importance of letting your neighbors, family and friends know when you are working from home to avoid disturbances (the last thing you want when you’re in the zone working on an assignment is for the doorbell to ring). Setting and enforcing boundaries is extremely instrumental when working from home.
Separately, if you need to, convert a designated room in your house into your office space. Purchase practical items for your office that will help you out while working. Click here for the 10 best desk plants for productivity in the office -- surprisingly, plants have a huge impact on productivity in the office. Ergonomic chairs are also helpful; the way we sit for hours on end is extremely important and sitting properly can help you avoid potential health issues down the road. Follow this link for a complete list of 10 must-have items in your office! Lastly, this article has an accumulated list consisting of various articles on productivity and success while working from home.
3. Don’t Forget to Network (Electronically and In-Person)!
It’s a common misconception that working from home equates to more time to yourself and less communicating -- this is very false! Remember, thanks to modern-day technology, you have the ability to quickly and efficiently communicate and network with others. Set aside some time to respond to emails, network and go outside of the comfort of your house to network at various events. Remote Year suggests over-communicating -- inform your boss or coworkers on accomplishments or milestones and don’t let people forget about you and your hard work.
If you are currently working from home, remember how lucky you are! Not a lot of people have the luxury of working from their own space. Take a minute to breathe and be thankful that you are in a familiar, comfortable space. Play with your dog or go outside to visit the neighborhood cats. Plus, the fact that you’re reading articles about how to be productive while working from home means that you are on the right track!
Awareness leads to success and it’s a powerful tool to have. If you’re considering working from home, it’s great that you’re doing what you can to prepare! Make sure you are equipped to stay focused and motivated -- some of us are more motivated and productive when working at an office, surrounded by others who are working hard as well. Lastly, if you’re working from home and it’s not going well for you, you can always go back to the office! Good luck and stay motivated.