For many years, working from home was a privilege only reserved for a few companies and employees. However, the dawn of the Coronavirus pandemic completely changed the narrative, and working from home is gradually becoming the new normal. To curb the spread of the disease, many governments put in stringent measures, including physical distancing, which made it hard for people to attend work physically.
The first few days proved to be difficult, but as time passed, more people embraced the work-from-home narrative. Company executives were surprised at how much work can be done remotely, and even if the vaccine for Covid-19 were developed today, most companies would still prefer working from home.
As good as it sounds, there’s no shortage of distractions when working from home. Some of these distractions might get the better of you, more so if you have a family. With a solid plan and focus, you can overcome all these distractions and increase productivity at work.
Looking to master your focus and cut out all distractions when working remotely? Here are seven expert tips that will steer you in the right direction.
1. Create a dedicated office space
In a busy household, it can be easy having the kids play around your work station and even piling your desk with their books and toys. This hardly creates a professional environment, and you’ll find it difficult to concentrate on your work.
The best way around it is by having a specific room dedicated as your home office. You can keep all your files and equipment here, without having to worry about interference by someone else. Furthermore, you can restructure the environment in a way that sets your mood for work. An example would be getting rid of television sets and other things that might drift your attention.
If you do not have access to a dedicated room, you can find yourself some space within the house that isn’t frequented by other people. The area should comfortably accommodate your computer and easily (and safely) store your documents. Whatever your approach, the bottom line is to keep your work and personal life separate.
2. Get your family involved
Although this is one of the most overlooked factors, it is a crucial consideration if you wish to become productive while working from home. You’ll need everyone’s cooperation, including your children and spouse. Let them know that you’ll be working from home and will be required to focus during work hours. After setting out the ground rules, adapting to the work from home idea becomes much easier, with fewer disruptions and noise to deal with.
3. Schedule your time
It is no brainer that working from home is a huge shift from the traditional office paradigm. However, the one thing that remains constant is the fact that work has to be done, regardless of where you’ll be doing it from.
You can easily get distracted while working from home, making you lose track of time. Without knowing, you might end up wasting the entire day without achieving your goals. As the day starts, you should schedule your time, allocating deadlines for each task.
Another way of approaching your day is by sticking to your regular work schedule. If you’re used to starting your workday from 9 to 5, there is no point in changing this simply because you’re at home. Avoid the temptations to engage yourself in other activities and start your work at the same time you would if you’d gone to the office.
At times, keeping a familiar schedule and routine allows you to keep yourself in check. It also helps you to remain focused as it replicates some part of your typical working experience. Remember to take breaks as you can get easily distracted when you become burned out.
4. Get comfortable
Companies invest a lot of resources for the comfort of their employees for a good reason. Not only does it impact the individual’s health, but it also has a lot to do with concentration at work. If you’re an established home worker, then you probably have a comfortable and ergonomic work station. This enables you to work all day without wrecking your posture.
If you do not have an office set up available, you should plan to get one ‒ a simple table and comfortable chair would do. While working on the sofa with your laptop seems like a feasible idea, it is only a short-term solution, as you’ll soon feel the effects with prolonged use.
5. Don’t work just anywhere
As pointed earlier, the best way to get rid of distractions while working from home is by getting yourself a dedicated office space. However, for some people, working from anywhere seems like a good idea, so long as they become comfortable. Well, this is one misconception you should avoid at all costs.
For instance, even though working on your bed doesn’t sound bad, it will have many long-term negative impacts. For starters, you’ll hurt your spine, and you’ll end up complaining a lot of backaches. Furthermore, the bed is to be used for sleeping only. When you take your work there, your mind won’t provide the attention the work needs; as it is in an environment that’s used for other things. You’ll feel your mind gradually shifting off, and you find yourself not having done any work.
Once you start confusing your mind, forcing it to become active when working on your bed, you may also develop sleeping problems. Whenever you want to sleep, the mind will be used to working in such an environment, making it impossible to catch some quality sleep.
Apart from not taking your work to other parts of the house, you shouldn’t bring the other activities to your work area. For example, eating should strictly be in the kitchen or dining area and sleeping in your bedroom.
6. Know your distractions
An easy way of overcoming distractions while working from home is to identify all your distractions and deal with them. Is your phone the reason you’re barely getting any work done? Put it away during work hours.
Do you find yourself drifting and begin surfing the internet on non-work-related content? Why not use a dedicated browser? Some people that work from home have two separate browsers ‒ one for casual surfing filled with their favorite bookmarks and sites and the other only used for work. The latter only has job-related bookmarks with apps and extensions that enable them to remain productive.
At the end of the day, if you haven’t achieved your goals, identify some of the reasons why this didn’t happen, and get rid of all the distractions you’ve encountered.
7. Listen to your body
Just as there are moments you are at your best, sometimes you just hit a wall. For maximum productivity, always listen to your body. If you feel worn out, you won’t be able to give the job your best. When you feel less energetic and that your brain is slow, listen to it.
Your body is not a machine, and it is purely natural to feel exhausted. Take regular breaks, and you should also go out once in a while. This burst of fresh air and views helps your body to rejuvenate, and you can come back feeling much better and more creative.
Working from home has many advantages, but it certainly becomes more difficult if you aren’t prepared to handle the challenges. Getting rid of work distractions is as easy as following these seven tips. Test the waters and see what really keeps you on track and whatever takes you off course. That way, you can easily transform your work from home experience to become even more productive compared to traditional work environments.