Updated: May 26, 2020
Have recent changes switched up your work schedule? Working from your home is a totally different experience from an office, and while it sounds great on paper, it's also easy to get distracted. I've been working from home for three years, and I still struggle every now and then with staying focused and productive.
I have found a few tricks to make working from home easier. I hope they help you stay on top of all your work, and if this is new to you, remember to cut yourself some slack! Working from home takes a bit of getting used to.
1. Take Short Breaks Often
When no one else is around, it's easy to get sucked into your work. This might sound really productive, but trust me - it's no fun for your eyes, your back or your wrists. At the end of each hour, get up and stretch. Walk around your house. Grab something to drink or take a 5 minute break on your patio. Get up and move around. Your body will thank you! Staring at a screen for prolonged amounts of time creates fatigue and makes it harder to sleep. Treat your body to breaks to make sure it's working at its best.
2. Get Dressed in the Morning
I know how tempting it is to stay in your PJs all day, and I totally rock pajama day now and then. However, I feel a lot better and more productive when I dress like I'm going to work. First, my morning routine is a chance for me to check in with myself. How am I feeling? How am I doing? I like primping myself, as well, and listening to my favorite podcasts in the morning. It's my "me time." Taking the time to do my hair, makeup and get dressed sets the precedent for the day. It makes me feel like I'm taking the rest of the day seriously. My PJs make me feel like I want to stay in bed and nap, which isn't the most productive activity out there.
3. Find a Space You Can Deem as Your "Work Zone"
Occasionally, I like to work from my couch or kitchen table, but I've found that separating my work space from my home space is best for me. My desk in my office is where I work. The rest of my home is where I relax and play. I don't like intermingling those two. Work is work. Play is play. When I sit down at my desk to work, my brain knows that this is the time to be productive and efficient. When I plop down on my couch, my brain knows it can relax. I've found that dividing my home from my job is really helpful so I don't feel like I'm constantly in work mode.
4. Turn Off Your Phone and Place it Out of Reach
My phone is my biggest distraction. I'll pop on to check Instagram for a moment, and suddenly 15 minutes have gone by. If you really need to get a project done, I recommend placing your phone somewhere out of sight. When you work from home, you have to police yourself. It's easy to get distracted, and if your phone is that for you, make sure you leave it in a different room.
I asked a few other work-from-home business owners if they had any additional advice, and here's what they said:
"Making a schedule. For work hours. Homeschooling hours. Making dinner etc." - Rebekah Luedcke of Forever Young Photography
"I would stay start a routine. People who are now working from home are starting new habits and this is the most important time with the habit formation. Get up, get dressed, set a certain area for work time vs. relaxation time!" - Alison Grace of Grace Creatives
I hope these tips help you stay focused while you work from home. Stay safe and healthy, folks!