Telecommuting is a growing trend in many industries as more companies are discovering the benefits that working remotely can provide to both employers and employees. However, while it may sound like a dream to be able to work from home in sweatpants, if you are new to telecommuting you may discover that it can be harder to stay focused when working from home than you anticipated. Interruptions from the dog, your kids, or the temptation Netflix poses can easily distract you from your work. In order to successfully work from home, it is critical that you practice self-discipline so that you can stay focused throughout the day. To help you stay on track, here are a few tips to help keep you focused when working from home.
Have a Dedicated Workspace
In order to make it easier to focus when working from home, it is critical that you establish a dedicated workspace. Whether this be a home office or a corner table in your living room that you are establishing as an office, it is important to have a space that is dedicated to working, as this will help you to get in the mindset that only work should be done in this space. While it is often appealing to work from somewhere comfortable like the couch or your bed, it is harder to get into a work mindset somewhere that you associate with relaxation, and you are more likely to easily be pulled away by distractions. Having a place in your home where you only go to work is critical in helping to keep you focused.
Block Distracting Websites
One of the biggest distractions when working from home is how easy it can be to check your social media, or turn on Netflix, as none of your coworkers are nearby to catch you in the act. However, these websites can quickly eat into your day and reduce your productivity. Fortunately, there are apps and browser extensions that can help keep you on task by preventing you from accessing certain websites during working hours. A good option is the Chrome extension StayFocused, which allows you to set limits on the amount of time you can spend on specified websites. You can even specify times of the day to block distracting websites, making it easier to focus on work.
Dress for Work
Rituals can be important in helping us to stay in a professional mindset when working from home. While it can be tempting to stay in your pajamas all day since no one will see you, taking the time to get dressed in the morning can go a long way in helping you transition from relaxation to work each morning. While there is no reason to put on professional attire (unless you have a video conference call), changing into regular clothes will help you to establish a routine that can help you to immediately focus on work each morning.
While it is important that you stay focused and do not get distracted when working from home, this does not mean that you can't take breaks. Breaks are still essential in helping you to stay motivated, and they can actually help to improve focus and productivity. However, just make sure that you limit these breaks so that you stay on task. For instance, taking a 20-minute break for every hour spent working gives you a goal to work towards, and it gives you moments of relaxation and reprieve throughout the day. You may also find that it helps you to stay focused between breaks if you reward yourself for maintained productivity. For instance, telling yourself that you can get a cup of coffee or watch 20 minutes of Netflix after staying productive for an hour can give you an incentive to stay focused.