A workday with no traffic snarls, no formal dress code, no supervision and no last-minute drive-by meetings sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? The new work from home norm has given wings to this dream for many, right up till the comforts and distractions of home creep in, and it becomes difficult to draw the line between professional and personal time. While distractions like office politics, water cooler gossip, and loud co-workers fade away, the television, household chores, kids or even pets can hurt your productivity in the new home-office environment.
Our homes become a black hole of distractions. With no one looking over your shoulder, the ability to focus diminishes. Focusing on work in the office is easy as the space is conducive to making you productive and achieving the tasks set ahead. However, at home, there are always chores to be done and there is always tempting relaxation to indulge in.
Generally, the idea of working from home is to get the job done within a timeline or deadline. As long as the work is done, it doesn’t matter when you work. This encourages procrastination, as there’s always a little laundry to do, a few dishes to be done, or an interesting episode to watch, and before you know it, four hours have passed and your work is pending till the last minute. You are soon caught in a deadline crunch.
The key to solving this problem is staying focused. So, let’s take a look at a few tips in maintaining top-notch focus while working from home and making it quite the picnic basket and fantasy that you’ve been dreaming about!
1) Establish a dedicated workspace
Creating an effective workspace is crucial to stay on top of your work and get things done. A proper ergonomic work set up – an office chair, a well-organized table, and sufficient lighting can help improve your concentration and keep your mind active and attentive to work. It will be ideal to have an enclosed space, where you can shut out all distractions. If you don’t have a separate room, find a space with minimum footfall, like a corner of a room off from the main area. Ensure that only work-related activities happen in that space and your family members treat it as your work station and avoid any kind of disturbance. Like your bed is reserved for sleeping, couch for relaxing, your workspace should be reserved for working.
2) Set clear working hours
Structure your day well by setting your work hours. Some prefer punching in early when the mind is fresh. Some prefer working in the afternoons after freeing the mind from the chores list, while others are night owls that may prefer to work when the house is absolutely quiet. According to your energy and motivation levels, decide which tasks or projects need to get done and establish works hours when you’re most productive and focused. Set a routine and stick to the boundaries, respecting them whether they are related to work or friends and family and know when to clock out.
3) Get ‘ready’ for work
Well, not really doll up or dress to kill, but even when you work from home, it is essential to tidy up and get dressed to look and feel presentable. Wearing the right set of clothes has a surprising effect on your motivation, productivity and work performance; keeping you in a professional mindset.
4) Resist the ghost of social media
Social media is a huge pitfall. There is always an urge to grab the handset the second a notification pops up. This causes a loss of focus and concentration. Limit the usage of your phone by turning the ‘Do Not Disturb’ function on. This enables emergency calls or work calls to bypass the function while keeping others at bay. If possible, transfer all communication to email, then keep your phone on a leash by turning it upside down or in the other corner of the room. Trust us, you will get a lot more work done with this little tip.
5) Take breaks
Try your best to stick to your typical office routine that comprises lunch and coffee breaks. Along with these, you can also punctuate your work schedule with a 10-15 minutes quick work out, some stretching, or a walk. Staying physically active elevates your mood, increases energy levels and improves productivity. It refreshes your mind allowing you to maintain your focus as well as clear and organize your thoughts.
There are numerous advantages to working from home. It helps you maintain a work-life balance that is crucial to mental health, family health as well as community health. It also has many challenges, but with a little restructuring and a little persistence, you can become more productive and effective. Incorporate these simple tips a little at a time, and you’ll see how much more you can get done during the day.