Thinking of working from home? Whether you’re a freelancer, own an online business or prefer to work away from your business premises, there are many advantages to working from home.
In fact, more people than ever are taking the plunge and working from home, and with many benefits including flexible working hours and no commuting, it’s not hard to see why.
Though working from home sounds like a wonderful idea, it requires a lot of discipline to stay on track. If not, your productivity, focus and overall work ethic could suffer.
Don’t fall victim to the comforts of working home life – we’ve got ten great tips to help keep you focused.
If you want to get into a good working mindset, start of your day the same as you would for any other job.
Set a recurring alarm for a specific time that’s convenient for you and stick to it. Developing a morning routine will help you get ready for the day ahead.
Whilst working in your pyjamas sounds comfy and amazing, wearing them can impact your work ethic.
There are real psychological benefits of creating a work ‘uniform’. Clothes have a powerful ability to affect productivity; they help us set barriers between home and office life, which is especially important if yours happen to collide.
Carving out space where you’re able to work comfortably is vital for staying productive.
Working in spaces you associate with having a specific purpose will negatively impact your ability to work. If you repeatedly work in your bed, for example, your brain will begin to disassociate it with sleeping, which could lead to difficulties with falling asleep.
So, whether you choose to work in a spare room or decide to make space in your living room, remember to keep your personal and work spaces separate.
Working from home may take a lot of hard work, but don’t overtire your brain. It’s important to take regular breaks (especially if you’re looking at a screen) and get away from the office for a while.
Committing yourself to specific hours like you would do at a regular office will help you build a routine. You’re likely to be more productive during those hours. These hours can be flexible, and you don’t need to stick to the standard 9-5. However, knowing which hours you work best will mean you’ll achieve more during them. Also, remember to add breaks to your hours.
What sort of environment do you work best in? Are you neat and tidy, cluttered but collected, or somewhere in-between? No matter how you work, you can benefit from creating a to-do list. It will take practice and discipline but hold yourself accountable when it comes to your work.
Simply put, we aren’t great at multitasking; instead, your focus should be on one task at a time. Consider the tasks you need to complete that day, then prioritise tasks that require your attention first. This is a sure way to keep on top of important tasks.
Remember to always keep your list in sight. Try writing them down on a desk notepad, pin a list to a board, or keep a tab open on your computer. Tick them off once they’re complete.
Household chores, kids, TV, the internet – it can be hard to stay focused with so many tempting disruptions at home. There’s no one looking over your shoulder to make sure you’re doing your work, so learning how to dodge distractions will be the key to your success.
One way to minimalise distractions is to limit your online usage. You can install browser plug-ins that allow you to block specific sites for set periods of time that unblock afterwards.
If you need to use your phone for work but worry that it will also pose a distraction, keep it out of reach. If you don’t need to use it for work purposes, put it away.
A change of scenery can do you the world of good, and especially for those who work from home. Moving away from your desk and getting out is good for both your physical and mental wellbeing. They can also help reduce eye strain from looking at computer screens for too long.
How you take your breaks is up to you and the way you work, though make sure that they are consistent and regular. Some prefer shorter bursts of 25 minutes or so followed by shorter breaks, whilst others like to concentrate for longer periods of time and take lengthier breaks.
If you’ve got a big project on the go, it can be easy to lose yourself in your work. If this is the case for you, set timers throughout the day.
It can be hard to concentrate in a busy office when people are talking and phones are ringing. Similarly, you may feel that the quietness of your home is also distracting. If you’re used to working with noise, then you need to add the right sounds that improve your focus.
You may choose to buy a radio and leave it playing in the background, though if you prefer tailored playlists that will put you in the zone, read about the types of music that increase productivity.
Alternatively, if you work well to the sounds of everyday life, try Coffitivity. If nature noises are more your thing, try mixing different sounds together with Noisli to create your own custom track.
If you work from home, chances are that you work at a computer or sit still for long periods.
Investing in a nice, ergonomically correct chair will eliminate any discomfort and allow you to focus on your tasks easier.
Staying on top of your workload only works if you’re taking care of your physical and mental needs.
You’ll be spending a lot of time in your office, so fill it with things that inspire and support you.
Take the time to eat well and exercise. It can be easy to shut yourself away and focus on your work but remember to stay connected by communicating with your peers.