If you thought getting distracted at work was easy, being at home can be 10x worse if you’re not careful.
You have a thousand different things to take you away from the work you’re supposed to do. There’s that never-ending list of chores to do, errands to run, and the
However, there are literally millions of people that work from home or have a home business, and with that number expected to grow exponentially over the next few years, it’s obvious that people find a way to make it work.
So what are the tricks to keeping focused and productive at home?
Here are five that experts say work best. These will keep you on point, distraction-free and ultra productive.
1. Keep work and home separate
While getting distracted is more of a mental issue than a physical one, that doesn’t mean we should ignore our physical surroundings. In fact, having a dedicated home office was seen as one of the biggest factors of success for productive WFH (Work From Home) workers.
As much as possible, keep your all your business documents, equipment (computers, phones, etc.), and anything else related to work, in your home office. Don’t be tempted into bringing your work with you into the kitchen while having a snack or in the family room while doing your laundry – that will most likely lead to work combining with home and that will destroy your productivity.
“By dedicating a space to my work, I create clear boundaries between work and home life. When I am in my office, I do not think about home. When I am in my home, I do not think about my office,” says Virginia Ginsburg, owner of business consulting and coaching company, Swell Strategies. (source)
2. Get enough “face time”
You don’t need to be reminded that humans are social creatures that crave interaction; when you’re working from home, however, loneliness can be a real problem. Sure you may be available on the phone and via email, but for most people that usually isn’t enough. For most of us we need to actually see people’s faces and look into their eyes.
That’s why the coffee shop has become so popular with the WFH crowd. But if your local Starbucks or Tim Hortons is too crowded for you or you’re not into that scene, try making occasional visits to the office or using video conferencing (example, Skype) to meet and talk with colleagues.
3. Give yourself deadlines
Giving yourself deadlines is my favorite trick to getting things done. For example, telling your manager or co-workers what you plan on getting done for the day is a huge motivator to not waste time and creates accountability because you’d be mighty embarrassed if you had to tell your team mates that you let them down.
Alternatively, you can use your chores as a time limiter that forces you to finish tasks on time. For example, next time you decide to throw in a load of laundry, give yourself a work task or project to finish before the timer runs out. This creates a sense of urgency that sometimes is missing when at home and will help keep you focused so you don’t waste time doing other things around the house. Then when the washer is done, do the same thing for the dryer, or the baking or any other chore that is time sensitive.
4. Take Breaks
Studies show that WFH workers or home business owners are less likely to call in sick and/or take breaks. They also tend to work more hours overall. Experts attribute this to possibly feeling guilt over working at home and wanting to prove to their co-workers, mangers or even families that they’re actually doing something instead of wasting time watching TV. The downside with all that extra time working is that it’s very easy to get burnt out quickly.
That why it’s recommended that you take scheduled breaks regularly throughout the day, as if you would if you were in the office. Even stepping away for 15 minutes to walk around the block can do wonders for mental fatigue and keep you productive for the entire day.
5. Maintain appearances
You may think that, since you won’t be meeting anyone face to face that day, there’s a temptation to work in your pyjamas or roll out of bed and get straight to work. But by getting ready as if you were going to come into work, mentally it changes your perception of working at home and helps to take your work more seriously. It also makes it much easier to do #3 and have impromptu video conferences with work colleagues or to do #4 and take a walk around he block or grab a coffee at your favourite local coffee shop.
What About You? Do you have a tip for working productively from home? Leave it in the comments below and share it with us.
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