How to stay focused when you're working from home
Are you new to working from home? If so, you may find it tricky to avoid temptation (TV/snacks on tap) and distractions (children/pets) and actually settle down to do some work. I've been working from home for a few years now, on and off, so I've put together my top survival tips for newbies:
1. Stick to your usual morning routine
Get up at your normal time, have a shower, brush your teeth, and get dressed – no PJs – and have a proper breakfast. In the commuting time saved, sneak in a walk with the dog or do some yoga stretches.
2. Create a designated work space
Try to work in a quiet spot without distractions - ideally in a spare bedroom with a desk - but, if this isn't possible, declutter the kitchen table. Keep relaxation and work spaces separate, so avoid perching on the bed or sofa.
3. Take a break at regular intervals
Limit screen time by setting a timer like Pomodoro which breaks work into manageable 25-minute tasks with a five minute break in-between. Take an hour for a proper lunch including a quick walk, at least around the garden, to get some vitamin D.
4. Stay connected with colleagues
Just because you aren’t in the same workspace doesn’t mean you can’t keep those bonds tight. Schedule regular video calls where you can catch up on work and each other’s lives.
5. Set ground rules
Ask your family to keep their distance while you’re working. Start and finish at a set time so everyone gets used to your new routine. And try to keep the work talk to a minimum. If you're really struggling to focus, consider working in the evening for an hour or two after the children have gone to bed.
6. Keep the TV and radio switched off
Music is good for creativity but it shouldn’t become a distraction. If you can’t stand working in silence, try listening to an industry-related podcast so you can learn while you work. I enjoy picking up useful social media marketing tips from The Jan Murray Podcast, for example.
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Create a dedicated workspace to help you separate work from home life.