Stop the Distractions: How to Be Productive While Working From Home
There are a lot of benefits to working from home. It reduces your commute time to zero, giving you more time to get tasks accomplished. It also allows you to work in a focused, productive environment that’s free from the distractions of a busy office. However, there are also some downsides. Many people find working from home isolating – and it’s a lot easier to get distracted when you’re alone at home.
But working in your comfortable, cozy home doesn’t have to breed distraction or destroy productivity. If you know how to minimize distractions, you can be more productive while you work from home. Here’s how you can maintain productivity when making the switch from an office to working from home.
Behave Like You’re Going to Work
The best way to set yourself up for productivity is to get in “work mode.” Each morning, get up and act like you’re going into the office. You should wake up at the same time, brush your teeth, shower, eat breakfast – and then, instead of walking out the door, walk to your home office or desk and get to work.
Keeping a consistent morning routine means you don’t have to balance work with non-work business. It also has the psychological effect of putting you in the same headspace you were in while going to the office, which can help you focus on work tasks.
Create a Separate Work Space
Your home likely isn’t designed to function like a work space. Your furniture is more for comfort than function, and you may not even have an office or work area. That’s why it’s very important to designate a specific space for work within your home.
Whether you set up your work in a different room in your home, designate a desk, or even just choose a “work only” spot on the couch, having a designated work space helps put you in the mood for work.
You can increase its work or office feel by stocking this area with everything you may need, like a computer charger, pens, and paper. This will make you and your work less scattered, which can prevent you from losing your train of thought.
Communicate With Your Co-Workers
It’s becoming more and more common for even the most traditional industries to have some team members who work from home, either due to a preference or life circumstances like a new baby or sick family member. If you’re part of a team but are working remotely, staying in regular touch with your colleagues can help motivate you, and make you feel like your work has purpose.
Depending on where you work, your primary method of communication might be email, Skype, Slack, or even text. Whatever method you choose, using it will make you feel more connected to your colleagues, which will help you feel more productive.
Limit Your Distractions By Disabling Notifications
If you work from home, you’ll likely find that you’re often distracted by notifications. Outside of the office, it’s easy to get drawn into messages from friends and social media. That’s why you should remove these alerts from your computer and mute your smartphone.
Getting a notification when someone posts something on your Facebook or views your profile on LinkedIn will only distract you from the task at hand. Turn off all notifications beyond those you need for your job, and you’ll be able to work without the distracting, noisy alerts that are designed to catch your attention.
Create a To-Do List
To-do lists are the best way to keep track of what needs to get done. If you’re struggling to stay on task at home, it’s a smart idea to create a to-do list.
To-do lists serve two purposes. First, you can use the list for guidance. You can break down larger tasks into small, easily doable pieces. You can also use the list as a rough schedule for your day, working your way from top to bottom. And secondly, a to-do list helps you visualize how much you’re accomplishing. As you cross off increasingly more tasks, it’ll motivate you to keep working.
Use a Productivity App to Break Up Your Day
One of the hardest parts about working from home is figuring out how to structure your active working time. Sometimes it’s easy to spend several hours on a project; other times it feels like pulling teeth to work for 20 minutes. If you find yourself unable to set a schedule for yourself, or you feel continually pulled in different directions, you can try a productivity app.
Productivity apps work on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop, and they help you to break up your day. One great option is Focus Keeper, which is a timer that uses the Pomodoro Method, a timed method of working that gives you a 5-minute break after every 25 minutes.
Go Outside and Take a Break
Nothing makes you feel more unproductive and stir-crazy than staying inside for days at a time. And when you work from home, it can be difficult to find the motivation to work if you haven’t left the house in days.
Getting outside at least once a day can make you more productive. It literally gives you a new perspective, and it can give you a much-needed break from both your computer and your workload. Take some time every day to go for a walk around the block, visit a local park, or buy a coffee at a local shop. Just make sure to schedule 15 to 20 minutes breaks throughout the day where you step out of your usual work environment.
Stick to a Set End Time For Your Work
One of the most difficult aspects of working from home is knowing when to stop. It’s easy to lose track of time, or get wrapped up in emails and tasks – and before you know it, you’ve worked a 12-hour day. To prevent burnout and set a firm work schedule, it’s important to stick to an end time each day.
Based on when you start your day, set an end time. Each day, get up and walk away from your work at that time. This will help you maintain regular office hours like the rest of your colleagues and having set boundaries will improve your work-life balance.