I’ve always liked working from home. Partly because I get an hour of extra sleep and partly because I. Need. Space. Today, many offices have an open-floor office environment and that is great for days when you can easily concentrate on your tasks and when you feel like cracking jokes with your colleagues in between the hard work. But on days where I really need to be left alone, the open-floor environment is just stressful. Luckily, I have always had the luxury of being able to work from home – either full-time or some days of the month. When I discuss this with friends and colleagues they wonder if I really actually do anything: “How can you concentrate at home? There are so many distractions!”. And yes, there are, but over the years I’ve learned a few tricks to staying focused and getting the job done:
- Eliminate distractions
The hardest part of working from home is definitely all the distractions. If you know that you’re a person who can’t distract from that pile of dishes waiting in the kitchen sink, eliminate it the night before. Keep the environment you will be in clean and tidy, if that works best for you. Otherwise, it’s easy to convince yourself that you will be more focused if you just do the dishes/make the bed/pick up your clothes off the floor etc. and you will end up procrastinating anything you’re supposed to do.
2. Stay away from social media/the TV
I’ve made the mistake of turning on the TV while I was working, overestimating my multitasking abilities. Or keeping a tab with my Facebook open in my web browser, “just in case”. Turn off the TV, radio and log out of your social media accounts. You can check it during your breaks.
3. Create a work schedule
It’s easier to get distracted if you don’t have that much to do or if you don’t have a plan for today’s tasks. Make a list of things that you need to do and things that you can do if you’ve finished early. I don’t know about you, but I love lists. They keep me focused. Once you’ve written it down and satisfyingly checked tasks off your list, you’ll feel much more productive.
4. Take breaks
Working from home is not different than working from the office when it comes to breaks. They’re important and increase productivity. Make sure to set some time aside for your breaks where you can check your social media, read the newspaper, go for a walk, pet your dog and whatever else that helps get your mind off work.
5. Set privacy boundaries
The thing with working from home is that you’re not always alone. Maybe your partner is at home sick or your cat is placing itself onto your computer as you work (speaking from personal experience). It’s important that the people you live with understand that you’re not home to relax or hang out with them. It’s important that they understand that just because you’re not at the office doesn’t mean that you can be disturbed. For example, if my partner is at home sick, watching TV or playing video games, we agree that he has to wear head phones (and not swear loudly when he loses).
Featured photo: vitra.com