It’s so easy to get distracted when working from home. Every space is your comfort zone after all.
You can work on the kitchen counter, or even on your bed. There’s no boss looking over your shoulder and no coworkers who can see you.
But as a result, you slack off or get distracted at certain hours of the day. And then you rush work to catch up because you don’t want to work late.
If you’re guilty of doing these things, here are some changes you can make right now to help you work more effectively from home.
1. Pick a good workspace in your home
The good news is that you most likely already have everything you need to work effectively from home. Like a desk, a comfy chair, and accessible electrical outlets for your computer and gadgets.
Work in a well-ventilated and well-lit spot where you cannot be distracted by the TV, the ringing house phone, or the foot traffic in your home.
It should also be someplace where you won’t be disturbed by your kids during their playtime.
Try to avoid working inside your bedroom or where everyone in the house converges, like the living room or the kitchen.
Make sure that your workspace feels and looks like a real office environment.
2. Dress the part
Working from home does not mean being on vacation and checking a few work emails every now and then. It’s still a regular work day, and it’s still business as usual.
So wake up at your usual time. Have a full breakfast. Get showered, and put on some nice and comfy clothes.
No one expects you to be in your power suit and shiny shoes, of course. But it’s advisable to wear something presentable and professional in case there’s an unexpected video call with clients or bosses.
For the men, shave your overgrown or fuzzy beard. Wash your hair and keep it neat and well-combed.
For the ladies, apply a bit of makeup if you prefer. Put your hair up, or down, whichever is comfortable to you.
This simple mental trick will remind you that you’re working and not lounging around.
3. Stick to a schedule
Multitasking may be your superpower. But as much as you are convinced that you can do several things at once, it’s not efficient all the time.
You cannot mix work responsibilities with domestic responsibilities. So before you log in for work in the morning, make sure that you have made your schedule for the day and that you stick to it.
Delegate household chores during the day to your family members. You can always do yours once you’ve logged off from work.
4. Set ground rules for the people in your house
If you’re living solo, no need to worry about this. Maybe the only people you need to deal with are neighbors, couriers, or delivery riders at your doorstep.
However, if you have kids, parents, siblings, other family members, or roommates living with you, be clear about your working hours.
Remind them that you are not to be disturbed when you’re on a call, or to keep the volume of the television low.
Give your kids something that will keep them busy while you’re working, like board games, workbooks, coloring books, and educational videos.
Have their snacks ready in the kitchen, too, so that they will not come to you every time they’re thirsty or hungry.
5. Work during your high productivity hours
Did you know that humans have 90- to 120-minute periods of productive time throughout a 24-hour day? It’s known as the ultradian cycle.
When your ultradian cycle begins, that’s when you are most focused and most energetic.
Ultradian cycles are different for everyone. You’ll need to track your activities for several days to know which hours of the day you accomplish a lot.
When you discover your ultradian rhythm, deal with the complex, intensive, and creativity-demanding work first.
Make important decisions, find solutions to problems, brainstorm, or strategize.
It’s also important to follow these high productive periods with 20-30 minutes of rest, cycled repeatedly throughout the day.
6. Log off your social media accounts
If you’re a creative, you need access to your social media accounts to get inspiration, to share your work, or to promote your brand. That’s okay.
But if you don’t need to check Instagram or Facebook for work, doing so only robs you of time you should be devoting to work.
7. Get the right tools
Invest in a good internet connection so that you can work uninterrupted.
A good chair with back support would be nice, too, as you will be sitting in front of your computer for hours.
There are also standing desks that you can purchase that you can adjust to different heights. This way, you can work standing up when you’ve been sitting down for too long.
Some noise cancelling headphones will also minimize distractions and make voice calls and video meetings sound crystal clear.
Lastly, install work and productivity apps for messaging, video conferencing, file sharing, presentations, and a host of other work-related tasks.
8. Prepare your meals in advance
If you have someone at home who’s doing the cooking, lucky you!
But if you’re on your own or are the designated cook, you need to prepare your food in advance.
Sometimes you will be neck-deep in work that you will no longer have time to eat, let alone cook.
Skipping meals is never healthy. It will affect your energy levels and ability to focus, ultimately rendering you distracted or unproductive.
9. Take frequent breaks
Enjoy some downtime. Get up from your chair and walk away from your computer to stretch, grab a snack, and squeeze a little bit of exercise.
Taking frequent breaks can help prevent decision fatigue, especially if your work requires you to make big and small decisions on a daily basis.
It can restore your motivation after working on a difficult task, refresh your mind, and boost your creativity.
10. Have fun with your coworkers
It’s easy to feel isolated when working from home, especially if you live on your own. You’re probably missing your coworkers now. For most people, sharing meals with coworkers is a highlight.
But now that you’re working from home, it’s just you eating at your desk while scrolling on your phone.
Just because you’re working from home does not mean that you can no longer have fun with your coworkers.
It’s an important aspect of working as it will positively impact productivity and keep your feelings of isolation and anxiety at bay.
Schedule a company-wide group chat or call so you can keep tabs on each other and talk about non-work related stuff. You can even let top executives join in on the conversations to make it more interesting.
Play online games with each other. Hold fun and informal recognition programs for individual or team contributions. The list goes on!