Being able to work at home has changed many people’s lives. However, keeping focused on your work can be difficult when you’re surrounded by so many things that you love and enjoy. Here are our top tips for minimizing distractions when you work at home:
- Have a dedicated workspace
Having a separate room to use as your office is ideal. This lets you shut the door and discourages interruptions. If that’s not possible, create an office space where you feel comfortable and where your family respects that when you are in the space, you are working. Ensure your work station has much natural light as possible – and keep in mind that a window looking out into the garden can help with concentration.
- Get organized
Create to-do lists to keep track of your work and what you have to do. Try to get smaller jobs such as answering emails done in batches and out of the way early. This will let you focus on more important projects with few distractions. Some people find it useful to make personal to-do lists as well, since scheduling your laundry and kitchen cleaning times can keep you from worrying about those tasks while working.
Let other people in the house know your work schedule and ask them to respect it. Posting your timetable on the door can be a great reminder for others not to interrupt!
Phones can be terribly distracting. Turn your smartphone off so you won’t feel tempted to check those constant notifications. You can easily lose valuable work minutes checking Reddit, Facebook, Instagram, and dozens of similar sites on your phone that compete for your attention.
Studies show that regular breaks increase your productivity and concentration. Take a short walk around the block or do a quick yoga or stretching routine – a bout of exercise will revitalise and inspire you.
Make your workspace comfortable. Invest in an ergonomically-designed chair, keyboard, mouse, and other equipment and furnishings that help relieve tension in your body which can distract you from your work.
Try using a rocking footrest, or a saddle seat to keep your body in motion throughout the day. These can increase productivity, improve your posture, and promote better health in general. To make switching between workspaces easier, set up your home office with similar equipment to that which you would see in a traditional office.
- Food & Drink
Don’t snack while you work. Take a coffee and lunch break just as you would at the office. Eat light, healthy meals to maintain productivity. When you get hungry, give yourself a break to eat. Hunger can be a big distraction!
And always remember to stay hydrated. Correct brain functioning requires drinking plenty of water – so cut down on the coffee and sugar-filled sodas and get yourself lots of good fresh H2O.
- Music and Clothing
Studies show that background music can aid concentration. There are even music apps that play tunes designed to keep you focused.
And although one of the joys of working from home is that you don’t always have to get dressed up, many people find that they concentrate better if they at least get out of their pyjamas and put on something approximating normal working attire.
A good night’s sleep is vital for concentration, so try to stop working at least two hours before retiring. Take a short stroll or a relaxing bubble bath before going to bed. And don’t check your phone before trying to sleep, as the light can work to keep you awake.
A dark room encourages the production of melatonin which helps us drop off to sleep. Consider putting up blackout blinds to create a totally dark room for a great night’s sleep. Keep your bedroom cooler, rather than hotter – setting you up for a peaceful sleep and for you to wake up ready for a productive day at work without distractions.