Whilst working from home is a dream for a lot of people, it can be pretty tricky sometimes. I for one have found it hard to keep focused, and it can be pretty lonely too. Over the last three years I’ve kind of gotten used to it, and I find it a lot easier now than I did, so I figured I’d share my tips for making it a bit easier.
Have designated email time. Emails are an incredible time waster, as well as being incredibly tedious. Set a designated time for checking your emails, not at the start of the day (I like to allocate an hour after lunch), and stick to it. The world won’t collapse if you don’t reply instantly.
Leave your phone in another room. This has made the world of difference to my productivity levels. I leave my phone in the bedroom, and check it when I make lunch or have a tea break. And I’m quite fine without it.
Turn off notifications on computer. I used to have my Twitter, Instagram, iMessage and emails all pinging up on my computer screen, just asking for me to lose my train of thought or get distracted. I’ve turned the lot off and it’s a lot easier to concentrate.
Full screen. Put whatever project you’re working on full screen. I know it sounds silly, but if you’ve got space around it, you’ll be more tempted to flit between windows, or have something like Twitter or Youtube open on screen too. Full screen your work, and let it be your sole concentration point.
You don’t have to be at home. It’s a common misconception that if you work from home you have to er, work from home. I often set up shop in the local Library or a coffee shop, and I find that away from the distractions of home, I’m a lot more productive.
Give yourself a uniform. It can be tempting to stay in your PJ’s all day and work from bed, and whilst sometimes it’s nice to do that, it’s not the best productivity aid. I get up, showered, dressed, and put on makeup every day, and it makes me feel ready to work (and less likely to get back into bed). Sometimes I’m just changing into leggings and a baggy tee, but it makes all the difference!
Give yourself a start and finish time. With no boss to report to it can be so easy to hit snooze a few times and roll out of bed at 11am, but all that does is make getting your to do list done more stressful. You don’t have to start at 9am on the dot, but having a set morning routine and start time is massively helpful. Also, making sure you have a cut off point, so you’re not still sat at your desk at 2am is important! Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you have to be working whenever you’re at home.
Don’t schedule tedious tasks for a Monday morning. It won’t make you want to get out of bed, and going by experience, it’ll take a lot longer. I like to pencil in my favourite tasks for Monday mornings, and save the more tedious stuff for a Tuesday afternoon, which seems to work best for me!
Keep in touch with other work-from-homers. Working from home can be a lonely business, so having a network of others in the same position is important. Whether it’s just for a bit of conversation throughout the day, or whether you get together to work occasionally, it’s nice to have a bit of companionship from someone in the same situation.
It’s impossible to work if your home is messy. Not only is it a distraction, you’ll use it as an excuse to procrastinate. Tidy house, tidy mind.
Play music, but not something you can sing to. This is something I’ve realised recently, if you play your favourite album it’ll slow you down! It’s been proven that music does help productivity, so I’ve been playing classical music while I work and it’s made such a difference.
All the To Do lists. To keep you focused! I like to list mine in order of priority, and I feel a real sense of accomplishment when I’ve ticked every box! And yes, okay, sometimes I add things I’ve already done just to make myself feel good.
Download the 30/30 app. It’s easy to get sucked into spending too long on one task, I use the 30/30 app to schedule alloted time for each task, it’s LIFE CHANGING. As soon as the buzzer sounds, move on to the next task. It stops you from getting bored with a task, spending too long on it, and it gives you the motivation to try and get as much done as possible before the buzzer sounds.
Have a lunch hour. This is so important and yet so many people don’t bother. It’s easy to cobble together lunch and eat it at your desk, but it’s better for the brain and the body if you don’t. Sit somewhere else with a book, or catch up on some TV, or arrange to meet a fellow work from homer for lunch. Set yourself a timer of an hour and don’t go back to your desk before it’s up. Your brain will thank you later. Ditto for tea breaks!
Get out of the house. I like to schedule one thing a day that gets me out of the flat, whether that’s going to the post office, picking up a Starbucks, doing the food shop, an afternoon walk, or meeting a friend for lunch. It feels good to get out of the house, and get some fresh air!
I hope you find some of these tips useful!