Are you working from home now? With more people working remotely than ever before, we’re getting to enjoy some special perks, but you may also be finding that there are more distractions than you’re accustomed to. Whereas the traditional work environment kept you fully focused on the tasks at hand, your work-from-home lifestyle means your family, pets, and favorite activities are just a few steps away.
Fortunately, working from home comes with a lot of freedom and benefits, so if you can just get a handle on your self-discipline and minimize your distractions, you can surely enjoy more productive days. Here are four tips to help you out.
#1 Move Your Workspace
If distractions are getting in the way of work, perhaps the first thing you should try doing is not removing the distractions, but relocating your work so you don’t cross paths. Depending on the distractions and how much free space you have at home, this may or may not be possible.
Still, coming up with a dedicated workspace is bound to boost your productivity. If you don’t have a home office or a spare room to devote, there are plenty of crafty ways to make room anyway. For instance, if you have a large laundry room, you might be able to clear space on the folding table for a laptop, at least a few days out of the week when you need peace and quiet.
A walk-in closet or breakfast nook can also double as an office. Plenty of unique solutions like that have popped up over the past year, you just have to think outside the box.
#2 Schedule Your Workday
If you are struggling to get everything done, it might be time to add some structure to your day. A schedule will allow you to realistically determine how much you can get done throughout the day, while allowing you to factor in breaks and other obligations as necessary. For instance, if you need to pick your kid up from soccer at three, there’s no reason to pretend like you can work a solid five hours from noon until dinner.
A realistic workday schedule will help you carve out more time for what’s important without feeling constantly stressed that one thing is taking your time away from another. The best way to approach your schedule is with a day planner, looking over the day to come the night before so you can wake up with a plan and get right on to doing what you need to be doing.
#3 Use Gadgets
There’s nothing wrong with using gadgets to help you work, especially if they help cancel those distractions. For instance, if you’ve got noisy kids who don’t have such a strict schedule, a pair of noise-canceling headphones may be just what you need to block them out and focus on what you need to get done. The same goes for pets, construction work, neighbors, and any other disturbance that could stand in your way of productivity.
In addition to headphones, you can use apps to help boost your productivity. For instance, an easy to-do list app can help you stay on top of what you need to do next and keep your workflow going as you move from one task to the next. Meanwhile, a Pomodoro Timer app can help you work more efficiently when you are at your desk while giving you a much-needed, short break after a long work session.
#4 Balance Your Obligations
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of working from home and maximizing your productivity is balancing your obligations. It can be easier than ever to allow your work life to cross into your home life now that you’re working and living in the same area, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Finding and keeping up with your hobbies and following basic “life hygiene” tips like these will help you create much-needed separation:
- Get enough sleep at night. The average adult needs at least 7 hours of sleep, and up to 9 hours, to work at their optimal level. Creating a bedtime routine for yourself and avoiding caffeine in the afternoon will both help.
- Let those in your household know when you need to work. It’s okay to be stern about it — just like when you used to leave at a set time every morning to make your commute.
- Use meditation and yoga to calm your mind and manage stress. Make sure you get in enough physical activity, too, so you stay healthy and motivated.
Small things, like taking a few minutes to play word games during your lunch break, can give your mind a break and help you boost your productivity when it is time to go back to work. So, don’t be afraid to take some moments for yourself and, above everything, remember that you’re doing a great job during very unsure times.
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