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How to stay focused when working from home

How to stay focused when working from home

18 September 2020

Working from home sounds like a great idea. There’s no commute, no dress code, no supervisor around. Home offices are becoming the new normal. After all, what’s better from working from the comfort of your couch?

Working from home may seem like a great idea until you get distracted and lose your motivation. Although these distractions can be easily ignored when you are at the office, it’s harder to separate your personal and professional time when you are at home.

For some people it’s not easy to have a flexible schedule. While you are working from home you can easily get distracted with household chores such as doing the laundry or the dishes, taking the dog out for a walk, or falling into a Netflix trap. It’s easy to get off course when you are on your own and no one is looking over your shoulder.

A cheat day is fine now and then, but it might build up over time. That’s why it’s important to have a work schedule and stick to it. It’s estimated that over 54 million people work from home in the United States. It’s important to know that you are not alone.

We compiled a list of 10 tips that will help you stay motivated and focused on your work. It’s time to stop sabotaging your productivity while you are working at home.

  • Have a dedicated workspace.

It’s very important to have a dedicated workspace at home. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the kitchen or in the living room. Even though not everyone has the luxury of having a home office, it’s important to find a spot in your home that will be just for work. If you aren’t alone during the day, ask other family members to treat your dedicated workspace as a real office.

It might be very comfortable to sit with a laptop on your couch, but it’s very close to the TV which can easily distract you. Despite that, working from your couch isn’t good for your body as well. Just like your bed should be only for sleeping, not eating, your dedicated workspace should be only for working.

It’s important to draw a line between 'home' and 'work'. This will help you make sure you have boundaries between your work time versus your personal time.

  • Change your clothes

In case you didn’t know, the clothes you wear can have a negative effect on your work productivity and performance. Choosing clothes is more important than you may think.

People tend to adopt the characteristics associated with the clothes they choose. For instance, when you wear comfortable clothes like pajamas or sweats, it can make you feel like you're not really working and it may decrease your productivity and motivation.

  • Decide ahead of time how long you're going to work

If you are working from home, that doesn’t mean that you should be working 24/7. It’s important to set up boundaries and decide how long you will be working even before you start. You should choose your working hours or stop working when you finish all your tasks and projects. Either way, you should know when you are done for the day. This will certainly help you stay focused and motivated.

When you don’t have a physical barrier between your home and your office, you can easily fall into a trap and work lots of hours without having time for your family and friends.

You might also feel tempted to finish a task or project over the weekend. This isn’t recommended because you might feel like you are working all the time and you don’t have time for yourself. In order to maximize your work days you should predetermine a set of working hours so later you can enjoy your time off.

  • Create a work schedule

Creating a work schedule will help you plan your day. If you are a to-do list follower, create a task list before you start working and cross things off as soon as you complete them.

If you don’t like lists, you still have to have an idea on what and how you will accomplish your daily tasks. However, your day should always be scheduled no matter which style you choose.

  • Turn off social media

Checking your social media accounts during working hours can easily distract you. If you are addicted to social media, there are a few tools that can help you stay focused while you are working.

For instance, the Cold Turkey tool will completely block your access to social media platforms during working hours. There is also an app called ‘Stay Focusd’ that can help you avoid the temptation to check your notifications by limiting the amount of time you can spend on them.

  • Take frequent breaks

In order to be motivated and productive, it’s important to take frequent breaks. According to a recent experiment, there is an ideal formula for when to take breaks and for how long. It suggests that the most productive people take a 17 minute break every 52 minutes.

However, all people have different preferences. There are people who work for 30 minutes straight and then take a 10-minute break. It’s totally up to you, just set your phone alarm and resist all distractions during the time you are working.

  • Work out during your workday

Working out can improve your mood and increase your energy level. However, did you know that working out during your work day can also improve your productivity? This has been proven by researchers. So, instead of working out in the evening, schedule your work out session during day time and don’t be surprised if your productivity increases. Taking an exercise break will also boost your brain.

  • Reward yourself

Reward yourself after you complete a task or project by doing something you really want. The reward can boost your motivation and productivity and it can make you work faster. Just think about it: Why wait until 2 to drink coffee when you could have it earlier?

Many studies suggest that working from home can increase your productivity. However, you can easily get easily distracted and lose your motivation and focus. Making a plan is the key to success. The tips above will definitely help you stay focused when you are working from home.

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