How to work from home without going stir crazy.
Working at home is a dream for many people, at least until they realize the challenges of remaining focused on work when at home. To help professionals that work remotely or home-business owners, here are some effective strategies to stay focused and avoid getting off track.
- Make a list – start each day with a prioritized list of tasks and a schedule with built in breaks. Stay to the schedule and the list for maximum productivity. I use my calendar to set up REALLY important tasks (top priority) and also set up tasks in a project management tool like Teamworks.
- Schedule breaks on the hour – most people work more effectively with short breaks of 10 or so minutes every hour. This can also be converted to a 5-minute break every thirty minutes. Take a drink, step outside for some fresh air or simply stretch. It limbers the body and freshens the mind!
- Stay off social media – even if you use social media for work, schedule in time to use the platform on a daily basis. When it is not your scheduled time have the program off to avoid distraction. It’s too easy to hear the ‘dings’ and then wonder who it is and what they want. Check in on social media at set times during the day. It helps stay focused on projects and tasks.
- Set absolute deadlines – short projects should be easily completed by deadlines. By making absolute deadlines and holding yourself to them, it is easier to avoid distractions or get caught up in low priority tasks. In Teamworks I can set tasks as High Priority, Medium or Low priority. You can even put in tags. It helps flag the projects that are more important than others when looking at what tasks are on your ‘roster’ for that day or week.
- Run the home office like a business – have the home office space separate and apart from the rest of the home. Make this your “work space” where kids and partners respect the space and your time when you are in it. Make it a space you are comfortable and feel good. I have my desk positioned so that I can see the fields and trees by my house – I even see birds and wildlife from time to time and love it! If you feel stuck in a ‘cubicle’ you will not feel inspired, happy or motivated to work. Be aware of your environment.
- Interact with other like-minded entrepreneurs – This can be time to connect on networking sites, phone a friend, be on a podcast show or interact with your Mastermind Members. It makes you feel less alone in the struggles of growing a business, but also help celebrate your wins and get great advice and feedback from those in the same shoes as you.
- Reward yourself – just as employers provide positive rewards for a job well done, you can build that in for yourself. Knowing you have promised yourself something great will help you to stay focused to earn the reward. Working from home can make you feel like you HAVE to work 24/7 to be successful. You CAN make your own hours and take a day off, have a massage or go out for lunch with a friend. Being uber focused and productive also means taking time away and rewarding yourself for your hard work.
- Turn off notifications – during your work time, turn off notifications for any social media, email accounts or even text message accounts. While you may need to check they are not work related, avoid answering personal messages during your scheduled work time. Don’t be afraid to let your work phone go to voice mail too! They can leave a message and you can schedule a time to talk when it’s more convenient. Don’t let the phone take you away from a focused task.
Does anyone else have any tips on ending distractions? No day is perfect and sometimes I still slip up. Being aware of our bad habits that get in the way of our professional growth is what’s important.
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