16 Tips To Stay Focused While Working From Home
Being able to work from home is a valuable skill. Even if you did not sign up for a remote job, you might be unwilling or unable to go into work because of a public health crisis or just because you are feeling under the weather.
Unfortunately, working at home can be quite distracting, especially for those who are not used to it. To keep you focused, we’ve put together this list of quick tips that help home workers to stay focused.
RELATED: How to Set a Schedule for the Perfect Work-at-Home Routine
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Don’t Work Where You Sleep
Your brain associates your sleeping area with sleep. This means if you try to work in that area during the day, you’ll feel sleepy.
Likewise, it associates your workspace with a place you need to make an effort. Which means you will have trouble sleeping in the same area at night.
Your brain cannot reconcile the two. Trust me.
If at all possible, do not work in your bedroom. If you have a studio, working in the bathroom is better than working just next to your bed.
Close Social Media
We don’t just mean Facebook, either. Email, messenger platforms, and anything that can deliver notifications is included too.
The one exception is the channels you may need to carry on with your work. Some companies may require their from-home workers to be available on Slack, for example. Even in these situations, it’s best if you can turn notifications off and check them only at set times during the day.
Pop In Earbuds
Hopefully, you have some noise-canceling earbuds or headphones that you can put on to block out any distracting noise around you.
Some people find they are most productive when they turn on some gentle instrumental music to listen to through the headphones. Others prefer no sound.
In either case, though, just the headphones being there will block the sounds of the world around you — which works wonders for productivity.
Stick To Your Routine
Even if you’re at home alone all day, sticking to your routine in terms of hygiene and professionalism is a good rule to work by.
You should wake up at your regular work time, shower (and wash your hair), get dressed in your typical work attire, eat a quick breakfast, and go to work.
In other words, treat your home workspace like an actual office.
Don’t Break Your Flow
If you can get into a flow without breaking for any distractions, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you will breeze through your work. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done.
When you’re working, your brain may try to tell you, “go do this first, then you’ll be able to focus better.” For example, it might tell you that you should do this chore or make that phone call. Don’t listen. It’s a trap. Just focus on your work and worry about that stuff later.
Set Smaller Tasks
Often, working on large tasks is intimidating. This is true everywhere, but when working from home, you have more chances to put your work off and do other things.
So to avoid being scared off by large tasks, break them down. Instead of “write this report,” tell yourself to read a few pages on similar documents. After that, just outline your main points. Finally, set a task to expand these points into persuasive prose.
Before you know it, you’ve done what you needed to! That wasn’t so bad, was it?
Let in Natural Light
Open your shades. Let in the light! Scientists have proven that working in natural light substantially increases productivity.
Learn Your Software
SaaS is one of the biggest industries in the world, which is why there is a software for every work function you can imagine nowadays. No matter how specific your needs are, you can be almost certain that there’s an app for that.
Find the right software for what you do, and learn it well. The amount of time doing so will save you is simply astronomical.
Although maintaining a flow while you’re working is beneficial, you also need to take breaks when you’re working from home.
Studies have shown that the most productive people go by the 17-52 rule — take a 17-minute break every 52 minutes. You might need to tweak the numbers a bit because everyone works differently, but 17-52 is an excellent baseline to start at.
Some of the breaks you do take should be spent walking or doing some other form of outdoor exercise.
Getting outside is great for your energy levels, and keeping your body active has a significant effect on your mental capabilities.
It’s been shown that at-home workers who do 2.5 hours of exercise instead of work every week make up that 2.5 hours in productivity. They also get the other health benefits exercise brings, and they feel more alert.
Don’t Start on Addictive Activities
If you decide to spend your break doing something you love to do — watching TV, for example, or playing video games — then it is tough to stop.
Even as someone with lots of experience working at home, I make an effort never to do something addictive during breaks, because then it’s very easy just to keep doing it and put off a return to work for “just 10 minutes longer.”
Have Meals Prepared
Preparing meals or leaving the house to grab something can take a long time. Which is why it’s always best to either have meals prepared in advance or have food delivered.
I usually choose to cook an extra portion or two with dinner so that I will be able to stick it in the microwave when I’m hungry during work the next day. Doing so keeps me from interrupting my flow.
It might sound cliche, but drinking some water every now and then really does help your brain out in almost every aspect.
Among other things, staying hydrated helps with memory retention, ability to focus, and overall energy levels.
Motivate yourself by allowing enjoyable activities only after you get something done. You want some coffee. You can have it after you reach this next goal
Set A To-Do List
At the start of each day, spend a few minutes putting together a list of things you need to do. The list can be specific if you want, but it can be vague too.
Once you have completed the items on the list, you’re done. Work is over until the next morning.
Having a goal and the promise of unadulterated personal time afterward gives you a more defined motivation to finish what you need to do.
Software these days can automate so much. You can set your accounting programs to auto-pay bills, or set your email client to auto-reply in specific ways to certain types of inquiries.
Automation will save you a lot of time and stress. More importantly, it will help keep your headspace to focus on more essential duties.
Working at home isn’t easy for everyone, but master these tips, and we are confident you will gain a leg up on the competition!
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR FOCUSING WHILE WORKING FROM HOME THAT WE HAVE NOT COVERED ON THIS LIST? LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW!