We’re now over two hundred days into the Coronavirus pandemic and working from home is the new normal for most. By now you’re probably nicely acquainted with the local magpies and those noisy neighbours who never seem to stop strimming. For me, nothing has changed having been freelance for six years, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have to work hard at working from home. If you’re finding concentrating a struggle or you lack interest, read on for some tips to keep you on track.
Create a dedicated workspace (if you can)
First and foremost, I think it’s essential to have a quiet, personal space. I find background noise can lead to distraction so I’ll close my door and get my head down to get things done. If you don’t have a spare room that you can work from, dedicate a quiet space you can use for work. Pocket doors are great for sectioning off a broken-plan space, and there are even wardrobes that open up to reveal an office.
Play music for concentration
According to research, listening to music can boost both productivity and cognitive performance. It’s also shown to manage anxiety, particularly in adults and can even enhance creative ‘divergent thinking’.
Stay connected with modern technology
Working from home may be a novelty to some, but for others, it’s isolating. Thankfully, video conferencing tools like Zoom and Hangouts make it easy to check-in with your team.
Work when you’re most productive
When I first started in business, I was incredibly strict and set myself working hours. Over the years, however, I’ve learned it’s not time but productivity that matters – nobody sprints for a day. Yes, you may be at your desk from nine until five, but it’s important to recognise when your motivation naturally ebbs and flows. This means when you’re raring to go, you should capitalise on your drive and save easier jobs for slower times of the day.
Interact with others…
Remember: it’s called working from home, not working from Mars, so don’t isolate yourself from others. Regular interaction is key, and it can help you stay focused, even if it’s just a quick chat with the dog.
… and set your expectations for WFH
Ever tried working from home with three under three? Neither have I, but you get where I’m coming from.
Set priorities and stick to them
Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” He’s definitely not wrong, in fact, studies have shown, the busier you are, the more you will actually do. When you’re busy, your momentum improves to get things done but a word of caution, motivation can easily dwindle when you’re working from home. Combat this by making a rock-solid plan and sticking to it – you could even reward your tenacity at the end of the day.
Take a proper lunch break
When you’re busy with work, it’s easy to skip lunch, but your brain needs fuel to perform. So step away from your desk and head into the kitchen to rustle up something nutritious. Another top tip is to plan your meals, so you’re not scratching around for ideas. I also like to stay hydrated with water, at least 3 litres a day – it’s thirsty work this working from home!
Doing the laundry can help you re-set
Did you know doing washing while working is proven to help you stay on track at home? Take a break to sort your smalls and you’ll return feeling refreshed – there’s no better feeling than ploughing through work and the laundry.
Finish up and focus on family and home
The concept of working from home is said to establish a much better work-life balance but be careful, however, or you’ll fall into the trap – it’s actually a huge time stealer. Being in such comfortable surroundings, it’s easy to get caught up in tasks and noon can suddenly become four. My tip is to keep a close eye on the time as you work through your day with the intention of finishing up and spending the evening with family.
Thank you for reading my post on working from home, I hope you have found it helpful in some way. Remember, know you’re not alone, we’re all in this together – drop me a line if you need to and stay safe. H x