When it comes to working from home, many people incorrectly assume that the lack of co-workers and office bustle automatically makes for a more productive work environment. Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case. The distractions of working from home may not be the same ones found in an office environment, but they still exist, and in some cases they’re even stronger. So, how do you stay focused when the comforts of home threaten to tear you away from your work, or your family is vying for your attention? Well, if you’re struggling with this problem, try a few of these tips:
Don’t Be Afraid To Say No
Sometimes, it can be hard to tell our loved ones “No,” and this can be especially true when you’re one room away from them trying to get work done. Explain that you need to work for periods of time without interruption, and try to compromise by taking breaks during with you’re available to your family and friends. Stay consistent, because letting anyone bend the rules even once will encourage others to do the same.
Take Time To Socialize
One of the traps of working from home can be that you may find yourself staying home for days at a time with little to no socialization. This is a bad thing, as a lack of “fun” time or socialization can lead to depression, loneliness, and decreased production. As much for your health as for the health of your business, make sure you take adequate time off to interact with friends and family. If you need to, schedule your social time to make sure that your schedule is free when the time to take a break rolls around.
Schedule Email and Social Media Time
Things like checking your email or catching up on Twitter and Facebook may seem like small tasks that can be fit into your schedule, but the truth is that these seemingly small things can easily become time sinks that will destroy an entire day’s productivity. Instead of trying to squeeze these activities between scheduled tasks, write them on your schedule instead and allocate enough time to use them properly to enhance your business.
Set Up An Office Space
Even though you’re working from home, it’s important to make your home office space seem professional. Throwing your laptop on your dining room table during the day is not going to put you in a very productive mood, and will probably serve as a better distraction than anything else. Set up a home office area that’s separate from where you take care of household things or surf the internet in your free time. It may not seem like a big distinction, but mentally it will make all the difference.
Take Break Time Into Account
If you have “work time” blocked out for the next five hours, make sure you’re not giving yourself five hours worth of work to complete in that timeframe. Even though we may have a tendency to push ourselves harder when we’re working alone, you should still take regular breaks and be sure to stay fed and hydrated. Filling your entire day with work and not scheduling breaks for yourself is a sure way to get burnt out or even sick or injured. When you’re planning out your schedule, be sure to dial back your to-do list a bit to make it more manageable and realistic.