Once you’ve found the right routine to ease into work mode, it’s important to anticipate potential distractions and to have the right tools so you can stay focused for as long as possible.
First of all, you need to make sure that you are in an environment which allows for uninterrupted work time. Each environment comes with it’s own distractions, and when working from home you might easily get distracted by home chores, loud neighbours or simply by the people you’re living with. In addition, it’s very hard to find the right boundary between private and work life when both happen in the same place. Be very mindful about what is distracting you in your home office and learn how to prevent such distractions.
The main benefits of using a productivity system is that it helps bring structure to your day and boost your efficiency at work. There are many different systems to choose from, with some more focused on organizing your To-Dos, while others help you to actually focus on the task at hand. Especially when working from home, where finding the right work-life balance is a big struggle, it’s important to have a good system in place to help you keep that balance. Take a look at which productivity systems exist and find the one that suits you best.
This is probably the most neglected one: people don’t take enough breaks. Breaks are often seen as something negative and a loss of time, but what most people don’t know is that human beings naturally can’t focus for long stretches of time. In fact, the average attention span lies at around 20 minutes. After that, your concentration naturally fades and your mind seeks a break. It’s therefore important that you work in sessions divided by frequent breaks so you can recharge. Working non-stop, without taking enough breaks, will only lead to stress and exhaustion which can cause burnout. When working from home, there are no co-workers you can have a break with or no office cafeteria to go to, so it is very tempting to just power through your day. Make an effort and actually schedule your breaks so you won’t forget them. In the end it’s the breaks that will give you the energy to do your best work!
One of the fundamentals of being able to stay productive is making sure that you’re feeling mentally and physically well. Working from home can often be a very lonely business. It is easy to lose self-discipline and adopt unhealthy habits such as not moving enough, eating junk food and slouching all day in loungewear. Naturally, it’s more difficult to feel energized and productive if the attitude is more similar to that of a Friday evening or a lazy Sunday. Make sure that you practice enough self-care, that you go outside and get enough movement, that you eat healthy, have opportunities to socialize and that you create a healthy balance between work and private life. More tips on how to take care of your wellbeing can be found here.
When it comes down to tools, you can sometimes feel overwhelmed by the vast amount of choice available. Choosing the wrong tools can quickly backfire and become counterproductive. Keep in mind that a tool should always be helpful and not hinder you in any way. However, if you find the right tool, this can effectively increase your efficiency and make work more enjoyable, so it’s definitely something worth exploring!
Now, if you work in an office, there are usually people who take care of this by making those choices for you but, as a consequence, you have little say over the tools you get to use. But if you’re working from home, you have the freedom to choose whatever tools you like the most and which best fulfill your needs.
There are several areas in which you can look into in order to enhance your work day: from physical items such as the working chair, desk, lightning or headphones, to digital tools such as to better handle emails, To-Dos or manage your project workflow.
Ask your co-workers for the tools they’ve discovered recently or swear by, and even more importantly, explore which tools others in your field are using and recommending.
Thank you for reading!
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