When working at home sometimes it can be difficult to stay focused. All the distractions around your home from the TV to your adorable pet can be a huge obstacle to finishing your work for the day. Working at home can be difficult because without the defining moments of going to work or coming back from work you can never really tell when the workday ends. It’s almost as if you’re always on the clock, which makes it hard to really focus during the usual work hours during the day. Here are 10 tips for working at home and staying focused to help you get you better adjusted to working remotely.
1. Have an Organized Work Station
Having an organized work station can be very important for staying focused when working at home. If your desk is messy covered in loose papers and random stuff then it can be hard to focus your mind on the work in front of you; you’ll just want to clean and organize it instead because that’s much simpler! Keep your desk area organized so that it’s both easy to find the work materials you need and also doesn’t try to distract you with the more-fun-than-work idea of cleaning and organizing.
2. Stick to Your Schedule
When working at home some jobs are more flexible about your hours and when you can be signed on and doing work. This can be a problem, however, because it can lead to you adjusting your schedule based on your Netflix binges or whatever activity you use to occupy your free time. If you want to improve at staying focused when working at home then you should make a strict work schedule and stick to it! If it’s a 7 am to 4 pm schedule then you should be doing that every day when possible. It helps get your mind accustomed that these are work hours and you should avoid distractions when you can.
3. Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleep is extremely important in general for focusing on work, but the difference when working at home compared to going into an office is that your bed isn’t in the office. The temptation of taking a “quick nap” is much harder to resist when your comfy bed is just in the next room. A similar argument can be had for when you wake up for work. It’s tough for most people to get out of bed for work early in the morning but the push of going and getting ready then driving to work usually can motivate them. But if you’re working at home so you likely don’t need to shower or drive anywhere you just have to log onto your computer. So it can be much harder to resist the fantastic temptation of going back to sleep for “just one more minute” when you wake up early for work.
4. Avoid Unnecessary Distractions
This almost seems like a given, but avoiding unnecessary distractions can really help you stay focused when working at home. Everyone can have completely different distractions which is why working at home can be much harder for some than others. Household chores and stuff are important things to do but they’re not absolutely essential to do during work hours. Those can be postponed until you’re signed off for the day. Texting or video conferencing with friends is also something that can wait until after work hours. That way you’d have something to look forward to once you finish work unlike postponing your chores.
5. Try Working Outside
If you’re feeling absolutely stir crazy with the combination of working at home and sheltering-in-place then you might want to try working outside if you can. Get a power extender and plug in your laptop outside and enjoy the fresh air while you get some work done! A change of scenery can really help you feel less trapped in your home. Plus getting some fresh air and sunshine is great for you!
6. Choose the Right Music
Choosing the right music can make a big difference for staying focused when working at home. Everyone has different preferences in what they prefer for music in general, but you’ll want the right kind of music when working at home. You don’t want to listen to music that gets you too worked up or distracted thinking about hanging with your friends or that music festival that happened years ago. Many instrumental songs on Spotify and YouTube can make a good choice for work music because it’s not distracting it just gives you a nice ambiance while working at home.
7. Try Standing While Working
A standing desk is great when working at home especially for people who have lower back problems. It can really help your posture and your back if you have a standing desk. For some people it’s not ideal in terms of their back and posture but it can still be beneficial to switch up from sitting at your desk all day long. Even without a standing desk, you can move your laptop onto a higher counter or such for a couple of hours so that you have to stand while working at it.
8. Avoid Social Media
Social Media can be a terrible distraction when working at home because it seems much easier to access. Without the worry of a coworker or boss potentially looking over your shoulder and seeing you browse Facebook it can be harder to resist. The problem with social media also is that it can be easy to just casually check, and also easy to get lost in and spend hours scrolling through all this different content.
9. Watch Out for Being Distracted By Your Pets
A plus side to working at home is that your pets are overjoyed to have you around all the time! Unfortunately, this can be a problem for staying focused when working at home. As cute and adorable as your dog, cat, or whatever pet you have is they are going to be an easy distraction for you. Oh well now that I’m working from home I can definitely walk my dog much more often! There’s nothing wrong with this idea, however, when you decide that a good time to go on a walk is in the middle of the workday when you have a big project to finish.
10. Get in Some Exercise When You Can
Exercise can make a big difference for you staying focused when working at home! It can help you get some sunshine and fresh air when being cooped up inside all day long. It can also help keep you mentally (and physically) fit which is important during these stressful times of COVID-19 and sheltering-in-place.