Most of us are spending much more time at home these days—much more time. You are most likely reading this from home at the kitchen table or living room couch. Some of you probably have a dog or cat staring at you, wondering why you are not at work. These are most definitely weird times in the world. Working from home brings its challenges, for most of us staying productive and focused is proving to be difficult. Keeping your mind on work with your family, pets, and television, all stealing your attention can be quite tricky.
Here are a few tips to help keep you focused while at home.
Get Ready for the Day
It can be tempting to sleep in and stay in your jammies all day. Or only get ready from the waist up for the zoom meetings 😉 Wake up each day and get ready as if you were headed into the office. Have your breakfast with your usual morning routine, and then sit down for work. Keeping your conventional methods will help you move into your “work-mode.”
Set up a designated workspace
Depending on your situation, this can be difficult; not everyone is lucky enough to have a home office where they can close the door, not have distractions, and be productive. My husband already works from home, so our office was already occupied. I am working at a make-shift desk in my bedroom. While it is not my spacious desk at the office, I can close the door and have some natural light to get things done.
Where ever you set up your office, be sure it is somewhere you can avoid the temptations we find at home. Ignore the doorbell, tune out the family, and not run to the fridge every twenty minutes. Be sure to be comfortable and have the space to set up the things you want and need. That can range from a place for your phone, a drink, some flowers, or your favorite picture. Whatever makes it “your space.”
Keep a schedule, including breaks
Normally at work by 7:30? Take lunch at one and end work at 4? Do the same thing while working from home. Regardless if you work part-time, full time or somewhere in-between keeping the same hours helps you stay focused, lets your co-workers know when they can get ahold of you and when your family needs to do their best to leave you alone.
Taking breaks is essential to a productive day. Science has proven you will get more done in your workday if you include breaks. Grab some coffee or diet coke. Walk the dog around the block, meditate, or play with your kids. It seems counter-intuitive, but walking away from work for 20 minutes will help you knock out that to-do list and be more productive.
When your workday is over, make it be over. Just because work is constantly nearby doesn’t mean you always need to be working. Work/life balance is key to being productive. Do something to help you transition from work to home mode. Some people have a saying, others put their laptops away in their bag, out of sight. Find what works for you and use it. It may seem a little silly at first, but it can help change your mindset.
What changes have you made in your work-life since these circumstances? Are you enjoying working from home or can’t wait to get back to the office? Either way, staying productive and busy during uncertain times brings us a routine and a sense of normalcy that we all crave.