You’ve probably read about the many benefits of working from home. From the flexible time to the privacy and zero commute time – what’s not to like? But let’s be honest here for one second. There are drawbacks to working remotely. Sorry to burst your bubble but it’s not all positivity and productivity when you work from home. After doing it for 14 months, my husband has slowly declined in his focus and productivity. This is especially on days when the home is rowdy with kids, excessively hot days, or when work gets stressful and it’s easy to put it off.
In fact, a Remote survey revealed that remote workers struggle with unplugging after work hours are done (40%), distractions (32%), tech problems (21%), etc. If you don’t know how to deal with these drawbacks, you will end up feeling discouraged with the idea of working from home.
Don’t get us wrong. Those who tried working from home would want to do it for a longer time. In fact, a survey revealed a consistent statistic. In the 2020 State of Remote Work Report, 98% of survey respondents said that they want to continue working remotely if given the chance.
Although it is reported that working from home will expose you to a lot of distractions, you will still be more productive compared to those in the office. A survey done by Airtasker showed that those working from home may find it more difficult to focus – but they still end up being more productive.
So what makes them successful? How can they stay focused and engaged despite the distractions? How can you work from home and ensure productivity? Allow us to share some tips that you can use to stay focused while working from home.
It’s been irrevocably negative with the impact of COVID-19. We’ve all been impacted by this new virus both directly and indirectly. These lasting impacts will ripple and these ripples will be permanent. This subject will become more and more relevant as we have opened the “Pandora’s Box” on changing the perspective of remote work.
I wanted to kick start an entire topic expanding my work from home series to include useful tips and tricks I’ve learned going from office to home office effectively. After so many years of remote work, I feel like now it’s the perfect time to share how to get it all done. It’s possible! Even despite the stress, distractions, kids, and…the time I worked from home (across the street from our city’s fire station.)
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Table of Contents
Tricks to being productive while working from home:
If you want to continue enjoying the benefits of a work-from-home arrangement, you need to ensure that you can stay productive. Here are tricks that you can do to help you stay productive, focused, and engaged while working from home.
Create a schedule
Start by creating a schedule. Plan what you will do and what you need to accomplish. Sometimes, we feel overwhelmed by all the tasks that we have to complete. It makes the task more difficult because it feels so complicated. But if you list down everything that you need to do and schedule each task, it becomes manageable.
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Not only that, but your mind also can afford to focus on one task at a time. According to an Airtasker survey, 33% of remote workers said that “having set working hours” helped them stay productive. It allowed them to be prepared before a task. Since they know the agenda for the day, they unconsciously set their minds to complete what is expected of them for the day.
When you set your schedule, you should also end your day at the same time every day. This will help you unplug and achieve a work-life balance. It will keep you from feeling burnt out and tired the next day.
Start your day early
When you create your schedule, try to set it so you start your day early. A study done by biology professor Christoph Randler of the University of Education in Germany, said that morning people are more proactive. That means they can anticipate problems and minimize them throughout the day. They feel more in charge of the day and that helps put them in a productive mood.
If you want to accomplish more every day, try to start your day early. The earlier you start, the more you can accomplish by the middle of the day. And when you see how much you have accomplished so far, it will motivate you to do more for the rest of the day.
Dress for work
Another trick that will make you focused at work is by dressing up for work. Now some of you may be opposed to the idea. You feel like it will remove the comfort factor of working from home.
But that is not true. It is actually beneficial if you dress appropriately even if you are just at home. In a Forbes article, it is revealed that dressing too casually will make you less focused on your work. Apparently, your clothes affect your mood. If you don’t get out of your pajamas while working, you will feel sluggish.
That does not mean you should wear office clothes. That is not necessary. But you need to at least look decent. Wear a shirt and jeans. Something that is not too casual.
Take a break
You should also never forget to take a break. Grab a snack to nourish yourself. Go out to get a cup of coffee. Or it can even be as simple as taking a walk.
In one study, it was revealed that walking can boost the creativity of a person. It helps if you go outside for a change in scenery.
If you feel like you are stuck and your mind is no longer working, stop. That is a sign that your mind is overwhelmed. Take a breather and go out and take a walk. It doesn’t have to be for hours. Spend around 30 minutes walking and just let your mind wander. Soon, you will get ideas that will help you move forward in your project.
Clear your desk
But what if taking a break does not work? After a few moments of working again, you find yourself unable to focus once more. What can you do?
Here’s a suggestion. Stop and look around you. Does it look cluttered? What about your table? If there is a lot of stuff there, you might want to clear your desk. A study published in Harvard Business Review revealed that those with messy desks feel more anxious and even neurotic. If you want to focus on your work, just clean your desk. Make sure things are organized. Then you can try going back to work.
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Finally, you need to remove distractions when you are trying to be productive at home. We’ve mentioned a study earlier that people tend to be easily distracted at home. What you can do is to identify what these distractions are – and then remove them.
Is it a TV? Make sure you don’t have it near your work area. Is it social media? Install an app that will block you from using your social media accounts during work hours. If you want to finish a report, close your email. And put your phone on silent. That way, people won’t disturb you.
Set up your home office to help you focus at home:
Apart from the tricks provided, you can also use your workspace to help you focus and feel more engaged while working from home. Here are more tips for you to use.
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Have your own space
If you want to work from home permanently, you need to have a place where you work. It is not ideal to just prop your laptop on the dining table every day. You need to dedicate a spot for you to work. It can be a small space if you have a tiny home. As long as it is dedicated solely for work-related tasks. That way, you can condition your mind to be on work-mode when you sit in front of this table.
Personalize the space
Having a dedicated space is not enough. Make sure it reflects your style. Design that home office to be your own. Put your photos there and your favorite things. Anything that you know will motivate you, put it in that spot. If it is filled with things that you like, it will put you in a positive mood. And that will help make you productive.
Light up your workspace
Make sure your work area is well lit. This is very important. If you can set up your table near the window, do it. Natural light is the best way to condition your mind to be alert and focused on work.
You should also invest in a table lamp that will allow you to work at night. It will not just help your productivity. It will also keep you from eye strain problems.
Put some green around you
First of all, the color green is associated with growth and also being decisive. It also calms your mind and clears it to help you make decisions. You might want to put something green where you work.
You can also put plants in your work area. It can help reduce your stress. It also cleans the air around your workspace. It will really give your home office a bit of life.
Hopefully, these tips will help you stay focused and productive while you work from home. There may be downsides to working remotely, but there are ways to minimize the effects on your output.