While working from home does have it’s perks, believe it or not, it does have its setbacks. One of the biggest is avoiding distractions and procrastinating. When you work in an office, or any other working environment, you typically have many eyes on you throughout the day (most importantly, your boss). This, combined with a number of other factors, motivates you to work and complete your tasks.
Once you replace the presence of an ever-watching boss, the office desk, the ringing telephone with the company of your fluffy pet, comfy sofa and the television the motivation that you had to work fast disappears. One episode of your favourite TV program in the morning with breakfast can quickly turn into an entire morning of unproductiveness. So how can you avoid getting distracted by the comforts of home?
Here are my top tips for staying focused on your business and making those unproductive sofa/bed days a thing of the past:
This was a tip that I was told by a friend of mine. Before trying it myself, I was adamant that I would become more distracted by the music and would end up just singing along to tunes instead of writing. I was wrong. Very, very wrong.
Turns out, listening to music when you work will make you happier and more focused – science has proven this fact. I chose soundtracks on Youtube that had no lyrics, ranging from classical music to movie soundtracks.
This, among other things, was one of the things I really did not want to do when I decided I would work from home. “I can work in bed, on the sofa or in the bath. Isn’t that amazing!” – was one of my first thoughts. While I know many people who are able to lounge about in bed all day and still be productive I, unfortunately, am not one of those people. If you are reading this article, I doubt you are either.
I, therefore, recommend setting up a workspace in your home. It doesn’t have to be a fancy desk covered with fancy stationary, it could be something a simple as a spot at your dining room table. All you need is a comfortable place that you can sit at from 9-5 (or however many hours you may work) every day. Once you begin to do this, your mind will quickly adapt and fall into work mode each time you sit at your new workspace.
Make A Hot Drink
A simple and often overlooked tip is making a hot drink and setting it in your new workspace. I don’t know why, but when I set my cup of coffee on my desk each morning I feel I am mentally ready to take on the day. Most mornings I sip my hot drink as I work on the first tasks I need to tackle, making that first-hour fly by. Don’t believe it? Try it yourself.
Write a To-Do List Every Day
Having a lack of direction at the start of the day can be disastrous for any working person – especially those working at home. If you do not have a plan of action for your working day, then the likelihood of you being as productive as you can possibly be is, I hate to say it, slim.
You need to have a rough idea of the tasks you need to complete, their order of importance, and how long it will take you to complete each one. Writing a list of tasks will not only give you a visual motivation when you start the day, but it can also help prevent you from becoming overwhelmed when you are particularly busy.
Like many of the other tips in this article, this one is very simple. When you have completed a task, it can be all too tempting to steal away rest for a well deserved moment or two. I have lost count of the number of times a 5-minute break has gotten away from me and I have spent half an hour ‘unwinding’. The best way to prevent this from happening is to schedule your breaks into your day.
You can do this any way you like; whether it be taking regular short breaks or one or two longer ones. What important is that you keep track of the time and are holding yourself accountable for how you spend it. Soon enough you will fall into a routine that you are happy with, making your day both productive and fun.
Do you have any tips for staying focused when working from home? Share them with us in the comments.