Furloughs. Hiring freezes. Layoffs. Since March 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on the economy. Glassdoor reports that between March 9 and April 6, 2020 U.S. job…
Working remotely has many perks, but for procrastinators, staying on task when you’re surrounded by distractions can be difficult.
Working from home can be particularly challenging. In between calls you may feel tempted to start the laundry or unload the dishwasher. Then, there are the additional temptations of watching NETFLIX or taking a midday nap if work is slow.
So, what can you do to stay focused and productive while working remotely?
Here are some tips!
If you don’t already have one, create a home office.
Having your own dedicated work space is vital to those who are easily distracted. If you don’t have a room specific for an office, you could turn a guest room into one or find a corner space in your home that gets plenty of light during the day and set up there. Make sure your desk or office space has everything you need and even consider keeping a bottle water handy and maybe a bowl for fruit or snacks, so that you don’t get tempted to leave your work space every time you get hungry or thirsty.
Office environments aren’t for everyone. Maybe you are more productive working from the couch or maybe even an alternate space such as a library or outdoor space if you desire creative energy. In any event, determine what kind of space works best for you and allows you to be productive with minimal distractions.
Whether you work in a home office, kitchen or living room, if there’s “stuff” around that reminds you of your household chores, your eyes will go there and you’ll get distracted. Whenever you work from home, claim a clutter-free zone. This will help you stay focused on your workload and remain more aligned with an in-office experience.
Get ready for the day.
Many people think working from home means sitting around in pajamas with the television on in the background. Not true! Just like in an office setting, you have to set yourself up for success when working from home. Get ready as you would if you were going into the office. Set a morning ritual of getting dressed (no loungewear!), making your morning cup of coffee and doing whatever else you need to get in the right mindset. You may also want to jot down your work to-do list for the day. You increase your chances of being productive when you set an intention.
Set your schedule.
No matter if you work from home sporadically, a few days a week or all the time, you’ll need to plan out your daily schedule. Establish your start time, midday break periods and what time you’ll clock out for the day. This will keep you on track with your workload. It also sends the message to your co-workers that you have a relatively set schedule—just like you would in the office.
Get some productivity software apps to keep you on track.
With access to nearly everything at your fingertips, computers offer a whole host of distractions. There’s social media, local news alerts, weather forecasts and games. It’s easy to lose loads of time opening multiple tabs and getting lost in a vortex of celebrity news.
Consider creating one user account strictly for work and take advantage of time tracking apps like Toggl, Tick and RescueTime that will help hold you accountable for any lapses in production.
While working from your couch or home office can be great most of the time, sometimes you need to break up the day. Take a 10-minute walk around the block to freshen up and to encourage the flow of new ideas. Looking for a change of scenery? Head over to your local coffee shop or library to work there for a few hours as it fits into your schedule. Or, if you know others who work from home, invite them over for an informal co-working group.
One of the most important aspects of a healthy work-from-home routine is creating boundaries. Log off for the day —and not just from your laptop. Consider developing a phrase you say to yourself at the end of the day, to signal your mind that it’s time to stop thinking about work. Have a last-minute idea come up after office hours? Jot it down, but come back to it tomorrow. Just because you have access to work anytime doesn’t mean you should be logged in 24/7. Allow yourself to have downtime to create a work-life balance—we all need it, no matter where we are working.