Working from home can be a dream but oftentimes can turn into a nightmare when distractions such as your barking dog, crying kid or annoyingly noisy neighbour present themselves. Finding the perfect balance is important, to keep both your productivity intact and if we’re honest, your sanity.
We’ve listed our team’s top 10 tips for working at your best, even from the comfort of home.
1. Ditch the PJ’s (you’ll thank us later).
Yes, we know it’s tempting to roll out of bed and stay in your fluffy PJ’s but take it from us don’t fall for the trap. There’s a reason why you feel so cuddly and relaxed in PJ’s, they’re made for exactly that! Even if you have a job where you don’t need to video conference with anyone, we’d recommend putting on at least a pair of comfier trousers and a normal blouse/shirt. It will help you to be more focused as you won’t be feeling like it’s still bedtime.
2. Get rid of distractions.
It’s hard to focus when you’re working from home, especially if you have a partner or kids around. If possible, try to make a designated area in your house where no one else dares enter, it’ll be just for you and your work. Keep it as minimal as your office space normally is, the fewer objects cluttering about, the better. In truth, you don’t need more than the bare essentials, your computer, notebook and whatever else your job requires.
3. Keep to a normal schedule.
It may seem funny to say but the reality is, you might be tempted to keep working long after your hours have ended. A problem you couldn’t seem to rectify during the day? What would you do in any normal situation at your job? There’s always tomorrow. This is not about not being the most dedicated employee, this is about your work time and personal time being separate, keeping as much normalcy as possible so you don’t get overwhelmed.
4. Plan your day.
Organisation is a key to productivity. Keep a journal or visible calendar with everything you need to get accomplished in that day and down the line. Important deadlines should be marked out and a bullet point page with your daily tasks is a useful way to keep on track. You can even download a task management system like Asana or Trello, both of which are free for individual use if you’re not the type to keep a written record.
5. Take a break.
It’s easy to get into a routine of skipping your break, especially when you’re plopped down in front of the computer. Take time out of your day to get up for at least 10-15 minutes, stretch and move around. If need be, don’t eat in front of the computer, have your lunch in another part of the house or even out in your garden (unless the weather’s bad). Breaking up your work schedule will help you refresh and be more ready to go the rest of the day.
6. Listen to inspiring tunes.
Music is a great motivator, it’s been proven to improve the mood and help retain focus. If you feel yourself slipping into a slump, plug into your favourite kick-butt playlist and get cracking. Often times, abstract sounds pull the attention and when you have kids running the halls or your noisy neighbour mowing his lawn in the middle of the day, your mind can be pulled from thinking about what’s important, to how annoying the noises are. Trust us, we know.
7. Stay in touch.
Working from home is a big deal for most companies and it doesn’t go without saying, trust goes a long way. Keeping regular contact with your colleagues and managers is important, inform them when you’ve begun work and your progress on any projects, even if they just involve only you. Talk as a community, be open with your colleagues and offer your assistance in case there’s anything they can’t fit into their schedule.
8. Eat a balanced diet.
Who doesn’t love snacking? The biggest downfall in working from home is the tendency to overeat. You get hungry, grab yourself a bag of chips and before you know it, the bag is empty and you’re feeling more bloated and sluggish than ever. If you feel the need to snack, prep yourself an arsenal of healthy treats like celery and peanut butter, fruit bars or granola. Yes, it’s not for everyone, but combine consistent overeating with stagnant seating all day long and you’re looking at a recipe for a decrease in mood and increase in weight gain.
9. Keep your personal life & work separate.
Most people won’t jump at the chance to share their personal numbers or details with colleagues. If your group doesn’t have it already, set yourself up with a special phone number, Skype or Microsoft Teams account which you can use to effectively communicate without needing to divulge the digits. Who wants their phone blowing up with work-related stuff anyways
10. Say no to Social Media.
It’s tempting to just mess around online, scrolling through the endless feeds of memes and videos instead of focusing on what you need to get done. You can’t really rid yourself entirely of Social Media but make a point to make it as inaccessible as possible. Remove any links from your browser shortcuts and log out of all your accounts, that way, you’ll have to go through even more trouble to access them. If need be, use an incognito browser so you don’t get any links popping up.
As we say, working from home has its good points and its bad ones but if you’re able to be as productive, if not more than you would be in your normal working environment, then you’ll be all set. We hope you will find our tips useful and we’d love to hear how you stay focused while working from home in the comments.