To help you maintain the balance, here are 10 things you can do right now to improve your focus and productivity when working from home.
1. Get out of bed/off the couch
There is a reason commercial offices allocate desks or partitioned workspaces to their staff. Having a dedicated workspace that’s free of distraction will help you stay focused.
2. Get dressed
While wearing pajama bottoms in a Zoom meeting is a novelty, it’s sending your brain mixed messages. The clothes you wear have a significant impact on your behaviour, personality, confidence and social interactions.
To create a professional mindset, you need to dress in a way that makes you feel put together and confident (that usually means changing out of pajamas).
3. Write a 'to do' list
Have a piece of paper in front of you where you can glance at the day’s tasks and cross them off as they’re completed. It will help you stay on track and acknowledge your achievements at the end of the day.
4. Stick to your work hours
There is such a thing as too much flexibility. While working from home makes managing personal tasks (like appointments and school pickups) easier, you still need to follow a schedule of working hours and breaks.
Keep regular hours and block out time for breaks each day, based on your meeting schedule. This minimises the likelihood of burnout and helps you manage your time.
5. Don’t eat lunch in front of the computer
Lunchtime is another place where your professional life can blur into your personal time. Eating lunch in front of your computer is not productive, refreshing or relaxing.
Always eat away from your work area, and if you have time, consider having lunch outside or in a nearby park for a change of scenery.
6. Take ergonomics seriously
Offices put much time and energy into creating ergonomic workspaces that comply with OH&S regulations. Often, these principles are not used in home offices, leading to musculoskeletal issues like back aches, headaches, and fatigue. An ergonomic home office doesn’t have to be expensive and simple adjustments can make all the difference.
7. Investigate time management software
If you find it difficult to focus for long periods or you’re distracted by social media, then it may be worth looking into time management technology.
Numerous helpful apps and time management methods are available, including:
- Social media blocking apps: Apps like Freedom, Cold Turkey Blocker and SelfControl work to block access to websites and social media platforms for set periods.
- Focus games: Apps like Forest gamify productivity by rewarding you for focusing. The aim of the game is to grow a tree. To do so, you open the forest app on your phone or computer and a 25-minute timer starts. If you navigate away from the app during that period, the tree dies; if you maintain your focus over the 25 minutes, the tree lives. You get a new tree for each successful period of focus, and eventually grow your own forest.
- Time management apps: You’ll find a broad category of apps to help structure your day.
8. Identify your own focus and productivity patterns
No one maintains a consistent level of productivity over an entire day. Peaks and slumps are a natural part of every person’s working life. Learning to identify your productivity patterns and scheduling your day around them allows you to work smarter, not harder, and avoid burnout.
9. Make time each day to connect with others outside your household
Humans aren’t meant to live or work in isolation. Make sure that at some point during the day, you connect with someone from outside your household. This might mean bouncing business ideas off a trusted mentor via Zoom, sending a text to make weekend plans with a friend, or just saying hello to the barista on your morning coffee run.
10. Don’t let your work-life seep into your professional life
Apply the same logic to your personal life as you do to your work life. Take active steps to keep your business commitments from seeping into your personal time.
Disclaimer: Council is not affiliated with any of the providers listed here. It is your responsibility to do due diligence and research the options and select the ones that best meet your business needs.