How to Stay Focused Working from Home

March 18, 2011

If you are fortunate enough to be able to work from home you may struggle to stay focused sometimes.

The home environment is where most of us spend the majority of our leisure time.

Therefore, working from home warrants some rules to help you to get the work done in the shortest amount of time without major interference on you or your families personal lives.

How to stay focused when working from home:

  • Set Work Goals – determine what you need to get done within a set period of time.  This allows you to prioritise and concentrate on delivering a task.
  • Create a Work Space – ensure that your work space meets health and safety standards and that you are creating an environment around you to concentrate and complete your work.

    Ideally, if you have a study/spare room occupy that, this will be easier for you to set up and close off from the rest of your home.  Other considerations when selecting a work space include lighting, temperature, noise and other uses of that space.

  • Turn Off Distractions – it is very easy to slip into your normal routine of being at home and doing what you normally do, for example watching TV, listening to music, playing with the dog.

    A general rule I use, if I wouldn’t normally work with that distraction, then why start now?

    For example, I work better with no noise, but sometimes music is good for tasks that don’t require as much mental energy, then I will put music on.  If possible, you should try minimise all of the common distractions if possible e.g. television, radio, washing machine, dryer, pets and other people interrupting.

    On that last point, it is critical to consider that you aren’t the only person that uses the space, therefore be conscious of the movements of others in your home and how you can work together to structure your work so that you can work from home effectively with inconveniencing others.

  •  Have Breaks – schedule regular breaks, so that you stay refreshed and focused.  When you get on a role, you sometimes don’t want to leave your work as you’re afraid that you’ll lose the momentum.  As a health precaution, you should take regular breaks to stretch, give your eyes a rest etc.  Personally, I have a morning tea, lunch and afternoon break.  I find that this physical and mental break assists with my productivity throughout the day.
  •  Let your Family Know – your family or housemates should be kept up to date about your work commitments at home.  This is common courtesy but also helps to proactively handle with any concerns or inconveniences that may arise with you using certain space for work.
  • Act Like You’re at Work – be disciplined.  It can be easy to answer a personal call and be on the phone for half an hour when your boss isn’t standing over you.  The consequence of actions like this is that you’ll need to make up for it later.  By staying focused will help complete work faster, so that there is less interference on your personal life.

 

Working from home doesn’t suit everyone and the tips above will help you to stay focused.

By planning your work, creating the right work space, minimising distractions, having breaks, discussing with your family and staying disciplined will not only assist you to finish your work sooner, but also help you to separate your work from the rest of your life.

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