Work from home: is it a dream come true? Or a challenging curveball?
Working from home is the new normal for many professionals who are faced with the reality of staying away from the office and other crowded places indefinitely. Though some of us might be optimistic about returning to normal working conditions soon, it’s still important to make the absolute best of our present circumstances.
Some people may thrive in a remote working environment. After all, what could be better than working according to your own schedule, taking all the breaks you need, and not having all those pesky office distractions breaking up your workflow? Many of us prefer the comforts of working from home. No need to wake up early and get dressed up, or slog through that morning commute.
But working from home can be challenging in other ways. Psychologically, being in an office environment—whether we like it or not—can put us into a “working mode” that is more conducive to productivity and sustained focus. You might be tempted to do house chores, or extend your working hours into the evenings, all because of a lack of clear structure and boundaries between work time and leisure time.
Because of this, the key to productivity and working at home is to add structure and purpose to your day however possible. While you may be free of office distractions, home distractions can be just as damaging to your productivity. Here are some ways you can reduce distractions at home and do some of your best work remotely.
1. Dress for success
When you work in the office, part of your daily routine is waking up, getting dressed, and leaving for work. Though you might be skipping that third step, there’s no reason to forgo the first two! Maintaining your morning routine, and getting dressed every day, will put you in a working mindset.
Dress as formally as you like! If getting into full formal attire helps you stay focused and feel like it’s time to work, go for it. However, you can absolutely take advantage of your home environment and dress casually as well. As long as you’re not lounging around in your PJs, you’ll almost certainly feel a difference. Getting dressed for work is one of the first things you can do every day to improve your independent work ethic.
2. Establish a regular routine
A great way to stay focused is to ensure you get regular breaks throughout the day. However, without proper structure, those breaks can turn into long periods of inactivity that discourage you from getting back into work mode. It’s best to find a happy medium when it comes to working and taking breaks.
Reward yourself with frequent breaks, but do it in a structured way. Websites like Tomato Timer can help you schedule breaks at regular intervals, so you can spend a few minutes on, and a few minutes off throughout the day, without straying off course.
Structuring your breaks in this way is actually a great way to improve the quality of your breaks as well. If you know you’re following a schedule that gives you enough time to work and rest, you won’t feel guilty about taking breaks. You can enjoy them to the fullest knowing that you’re not slacking off—just giving yourself some much-needed TLC so you can do your absolute best work.
In addition to breaks, experts recommend taking a proper lunch break every day. Especially at home, it’s tempting to simply bring food over to your desk and continue working. Be intentional about taking some time out of your afternoon to take a proper rest and focus just on eating and recharging. Your digestive tract and mind will thank you!
Finally, follow a strict regimen of hours worked. Don’t work overtime just because you’re at home and not in an office with a closing time. Set a strict time limit every day—your personal time is just as important!
3. Work from home with the right tools to get the job done
We can work from home under any circumstances, but it’s hard to do our best work when we don’t have the tools and equipment we need to do so. Beyond just a basic laptop and table or desk surface, there are lots of home office upgrades you can use to make your personal space feel more professional.
Though most people might think a simple table and chair will do, having non-specialized office furniture can distract you from getting into that focused working mindset. Additionally, you may find that your back and neck and overall posture suffer overtime from prolonged periods of sitting and a lack of ergonomic furniture.
Ergonomic office chairs are becoming increasingly popular for home use, as they provide maximum comfort and help combat the long-term effects of sitting by helping maintain an upright posture. It’s important to choose a highly adjustable chair with different customizable heights and angles that will suit your body uniquely.
In addition to good chairs, sometimes it’s best to break up the monotony by alternating between sitting and standing. A standing desk for home office is a great way that we can work from home with maximum energy and comfort. Something modern and sturdy that blends in with home decor is ideal.
While you may have your own ways to stay focused and energized while working at home, the most important thing is making sure you and your space are suitable for a working mindset. You can work from home with just a few modifications and tweaks to your daily routine that will keep you focused and on task throughout the day.
What are some of your best tips and tricks for staying focused while working from home? Sound off in the comments below!
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