Many businesses have been working from home now for several months. There are many great perks to being able to work at home, but there are also many distractions. We’ve done a little bit of research and come up with a list of best practices to work on to improve your focus working from home.
CREATE AND MAINTAIN YOUR HOME OFFICE
- Make a dedicated space for work
A common complaint from those of us who’ve struggled in our working-from-home reality is that there isn’t a clear division between work and life. If you haven’t done so already, try to move from the dining room table and create a dedicated space for your job. Try to pick a place in the house where you can close the door or shut the computer at the end of the day and turn off work-mode. If you can make division between work and life, you can focus better on your job while you are working.
- Keep your work area clean
To have the clarity of mind to stay focused while at work, we need a clean working area. Spend a few minutes at the end of each day to tidy up your desk area so you can come back the next morning with a clean slate.
- Dress like you’re going to the office
It seemed pretty nifty at first to wear sweatpants (or no pants) to work every day but it’s probably gotten pretty old for you. Preparing your mind and body for work each day can improve focus – and that starts with what you wear. Make sure you’re comfortable each day but putting on that collared shirt can do a whole lot more for your psyche than you realize.
SCHEDULE YOUR DAY
- Use Your Calendar or Planner
The first best practice we recommend in scheduling out your work, is to maintain regular work hours. Our bodies are routine-oriented and keeping normal times for work can help the mind stay focused when it’s used to doing so. Also, an easy way to stay focused and on-task is to plan and schedule out your day hour-by-hour to make sure you get stuff done.
- Schedule Breaks in Your Day
While you’re in that calendar, schedule out your breaks! Nobody can work for hours and hours without needing breaks. The best practice we could find was to schedule out several breaks throughout the day so that your worktime is more focused and productive.
- Limit Checking Emails
Checking emails throughout the day can be a timewaster. Don’t let your inbox control your focus. Schedule out a few times throughout the day where you check your emails. Try an hour at the beginning of the day, an hour before/after lunch and an hour at the end of the day.
LIMIT YOUR DISTRACTIONS
- Avoid Social Media
When we work on difficult projects our brains want to take a break, so we rest it with social media. Unfortunately, checking these websites and apps can actually expend a whole bunch of our brain power. Try to avoid social media throughout as much as possible – try checking only during lunch and during your scheduled breaks.
- Keep your phone out of reach
Nothing asks to take our focus away from work as much as our phones do. Just like social media, try leaving your phone in another room or behind your laptop to avoid being distracted during your focused work time.
- Use Headphones or Study Music
Noise-canceling headphones can help tune out distracting sounds, but even earbuds can help. Having headphones on while you’re working signals to our family and roommates that we’re working and shouldn’t be disturbed. Also, to get some extra focus, try listening to a focus playlist or music on YouTube while you work.
MAINTAIN YOUR HEALTH
- Drink more water
Most of us think we need coffee to stay focused and energized but oftentimes too much caffeine can have opposite effect – causing a distracted mind. Try drinking more water to keep your body and mind healthy and hydrated.
- Avoid overeating
When the refrigerator is only a few steps away, the temptation to snack or eat full meals throughout the day is ever-present. A big bonus being at home is you don’t have to rely on the microwave to make your lunch. Plan out and prepare healthy lunch options at least 4 days of the week and limit snacking.
- Find time to exercise
Even if you don’t have an active job, you’ve probably noticed that without needing to travel to the office, you move around a whole lot less. A lack of physical activity can cause your mind and body to be lazy – so be sure you plan to exercise. Even a walk around the block at lunch can do a whole lot for your body and mind.
Being focused at work can be the difference in exceling at your career. So don’t let anything keep you from being your best self everyday – no matter how or where you’re putting in your hours.