Working from home is new to some, and with it comes its own set of challenges. Focusing in the comfort of your own home can be challenging with distractions all around you. If your kiddos are at home for the summer, you’ve got even more to prevent you from having a productive workday. What is one to do in this situation to protect focus, keep up productivity, and still maintain sanity?
In this guide, we’ll show you how to avoid spacing out when you’re at home. You’ve got work to do, so let’s get to it!
Clear Up Your Environment
You had no need for a home office before COVID-19, so now you’re stuck working from the living room, dining room, or spare bedroom. It should be fine, right? It would be if you weren’t surrounded by distractions. After all, those spreadsheets are infinitely less entertaining than the Xbox staring at you from across the room. Or that Netflix binge you’ve been planning for weeks. Or those cookies on the countertop.
The first step to prevent spacing out at home is to clear up your environment. If you don’t have a home office, you’ll need to find a place with as few distractions as possible. This could be a spare bedroom with the door shut, your garage, or even your back porch. You don’t have to stay inside the house per se, and you can always pick a room that’s as bland as possible and doesn’t contain any other electronics.
Manage Your Breaks
Sometimes, the temptation to take a “break” is just too great. The next thing you know, you’ve killed about three hours on your gaming console, and your work project has fallen dangerously behind. A good way to manage your breaks at home is to only allow yourself the same number of breaks you would get on the job. Do you get an hour lunch at work? Take no more than an hour at home. Do you only get one fifteen-minute break on your shift at work? Don’t make it a half-hour at home.
Discipline is the heart of successful home-based work. You’ll need to discipline yourself to maintain as close a schedule to your original work schedule as possible while working from home. Just because you can take extra time or extra breaks doesn’t mean you should.
Taking extra breaks or extra time can quickly evolve into a habit, and the next thing you know, you’re taking more breaks than ever before, and working less and less. You can set goals before you take a break to help you stay focused.
For example, “I’m not taking a break until I have 10 spreadsheets done”. This will help you stay focused and keep the point of a break intact.
Did you know that listening to music while you work can actually help improve focus and prevent mistakes? When you put headphones on, you’re tuning out everything else that may distract you from your work. The music itself stimulates the brain and keeps you focused on what you’re doing.
If you’ve got a lot of background noise in your house from kiddos, loved ones, or pets, noise-canceling headphones are a must to work from home. You can find just about any color, fit, and style online, and these kinds of headphones are usually quite affordable. Prices can range anywhere from as low as $30 to as high as $300+, depending on the brand. There’s a pair for every budget!
Keep A Sleep Schedule
Not getting enough sleep can completely derail a day working at home. If you’re sleepy and your bed is in the next room with all of your comfy blankets and soft pillows, what’s to stop you from taking a “quick” nap? Except that now you’ve slept away half your workday, you’re no more focused, and might even be more tired than you were before.
Maintain the same sleep schedule you had when you were still clocking in at the office (unless it was a bad one). You should be getting about 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule will make those long days working from home less toilsome and keep you focused.
Diet Can Affect Focus
What you eat can actually affect your focus and concentration. When you’re working from home, it’s all too easy to snack throughout the day, but this can leave you feeling worse, can make you gain weight, and derail your productivity.
Avoid snacking for the sake of boredom. If you must snack throughout the day, try to keep sugary foods and carbs out of the house as much as possible. Buy healthy snacks like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Remember that if your physical health declines, your mental health can follow!