Working from home can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, you have the freedom to work in your pajamas, set your own schedule, and avoid the daily commute. Which…yes, is totally awesome!
On the other hand, it can be difficult to stay focused and productive when you’re surrounded by distractions like household chores, family members, and Netflix.
But don’t worry — with a few simple strategies, you can easily stay on track and get your work done even when you’re working remotely. Here are five tips for staying focused and crushing your work “to do list” while working from home:
#1: Create a Dedicated Workspace
One of the most important things you can do to stay focused while working from home is to create a dedicated workspace. This can be a spare bedroom, a corner of the living room, or even a closet that you’ve converted into an office.
This closet idea actually works extremely well! I did that for a while and it’s cozy, just the right amount of space sometimes and super nice to shut those closet doors on it after work!
The key is to create a space that’s separate from the rest of your home and that’s specifically designated for work. This will help you get into the right mindset and minimize all the many distractions!
For example, working from your kitchen table is really hard because you’re continuously having to move your “office” when it’s time for meals and other things. It’s also located in one of the busiest (noisiest?) places in the house!
Make sure your workspace is comfortable and well-lit, and that you have everything you need within reach. This might include a comfortable chair, a desk lamp, a printer, and any other tools or equipment you need to do your job.
Download our free guide “Setting Up Your Rockstar Workspace” which will give you lots more info and a complete checklist of the things that will make your home workspace a place you’ll want to be and where you’ll be your most productive!
#2: Set Clear Boundaries
When you work from home, it can be difficult to separate your work life from your personal life. This is why it’s important to set clear boundaries. Hear me…I’ll say it again…BOUNDARIES!!
One way to do this is to set specific work hours and stick to them as much as possible. This will help you establish a routine and create a sense of structure in your day. You’ll need this structure, I promise. It’s really easy to let your “work day” roll over into a “work night” because your office is just….right there! Avoid this because it will lead to burnout faster than you can find your way to the fridge.
It’s also important to communicate your boundaries to your family and friends. Let them know when you’re working and when you’re not, and ask them to respect your work time. This can be hard for your family and friends at first, but if you stick to your schedule, they will quickly begin to get the message!
Finally, make sure you take regular breaks throughout the day. This will help you stay energized and focused, and it will also give you a chance to recharge and refocus. Remember, when you’re working onsite somewhere, you typically have a longer walk to the bathroom, a longer walk to the caffeine station, a longer walk to the cafeteria, etc. We need to build in these “brain breaks” and walks even when we’re working from home.
Tip: I have alarms set on my phone at the :50 point of several hours throughout my day. Every time this alarm goes off, I get up and walk for 10 minutes. It’s amazing how this short break can reenergize you and get your brain focused again. Too many hours spent sitting and staring at the computer without breaks can quickly lead to brain fog, neck & shoulder tension, and a major loss of productivity. Try this! I think it will make a huge difference for you. It definitely has for me!
#3: Minimize Distractions
Distractions are one of the biggest challenges of working from home. There are always dishes to be washed, laundry to be done, kids to be entertained, social media feeds to be checked, and on and on.
To minimize distractions, try to eliminate as many as possible. This might mean closing your “office” door, turning off your phone notifications, closing your email inbox, or using a website blocker to avoid social media and other distracting websites.
It’s also important to be aware of your own personal distractions. If you find yourself getting distracted by household chores or other non-work tasks, try to schedule them for specific times of the day, or delegate them to someone else if possible. Have a teenager who’s soo bored? :)
#4: Stay Connected to Your Team
When you work from home, it’s easy to feel isolated and disconnected from your team. This can definitely make it difficult to stay motivated and focused after a while.
To combat this, make an effort to stay connected with your team. A great way to do this is to schedule regular video calls or check-ins, and use instant messaging or collaboration tools to stay in touch throughout the day.
Many of us avoid using the webcam on a regular basis because…let’s be honest…that means you’ve got to look presentable! But, popping that camera on from time to time on both sides of the conversation can really make a huge difference in feeling connected to the rest of your crew!
It’s also important to maintain a sense of camaraderie and teamwork. This might mean sharing personal updates or having virtual team-building activities like online games or virtual happy hours.
This tip is really critical. Everyone knows what’s going on with work, but in order to build true connection we need to share some of what’s going on with us in our personal lives. Nothing too dramatic, just some quick highlights will make your team feel more connected!
#5: Prioritize Self-Care
Finally, it’s important to prioritize self-care when you’re working from home. This means taking care of your physical and mental health so that you can stay focused and productive.
Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating well, and staying active. Take breaks throughout the day to stretch, go for a walk, or do some yoga. Remember the tip on setting those alarms!
It’s also important to prioritize your mental health. This might mean practicing mindfulness or meditation, or simply taking some time each day to do something you enjoy. Whatever helps you take a mental break!
By prioritizing self-care, you’ll be better equipped to handle the challenges coming at you with each new email that pops into your inbox and stay focused and productive throughout the day.
Working from home is such a gift if you handle it the right way. Yes, it can be a challenge, but with the right strategies, you can stay laser-focused and highly productive even when you’re surrounded by distractions.
By creating a dedicated workspace, setting clear boundaries, minimizing distractions, staying connected with your team, and prioritizing self-care, you’ll be well on your way to success as a remote worker.
Every time you make that 30-second walk to your “office” each morning, try to remember how lucky you are to work remotely and put these practices in place to guard it at all costs! :)
Here’s to your happy WFH life,