Whether you are a freelancer, an entrepreneur, or an employee in a flexible organization that allows home office, you might have struggled with the distractions available at home.
All the specialists tell us to focus on one task at a time, to separate work from personal life. Can you really separate them if you have to work from your living room?
Here we share some tips that might become handy in the quest for balance.
Keep your house tidy.
If you were working at an office, you would arrive to a clear workstation, cleaned by somebody else; you may pick up a cup of coffee and get to work. Anything left undone at home is not something you can worry about until you are back.
When you work from home you need the same level of concentration. Keep your workplace clean, organized. It doesn’t need to be ready for a photo shoot. But you need a place to concentrate. If you have dishes to do, cloth lying around that need to be picked up, books out of the shelves, all of these might become excuses for you not to do your job. Your focus is jeopardized when you have other things to take care in plain sight.
How to fix it: If you are not a tidy person, at least take care of the room you are using to work. Clean, organize; make your own work-place-meets-sanctuary. Do it the night before or in the morning before your “working hours”. If something urgent comes up and you can’t make the time to tidy up then move all your clutter to the next room, close the door and free your mind.
Do not switch the TV on.
Maybe you turned it on to check the weather, or just to hear the news in the morning, while having breakfast as you would do if you worked somewhere else. If you have to leave is easy to turn it off. But TV shows are made to catch your attention and sometimes you may not realize how much time you are spending in front of the TV.
How to fix it: Do not switch it on. If it is hard for you to break this habit, unplug it the night before. Turn on the radio instead. At least until you have a stronger willpower.
Get a to-do list, or maybe 2, or 3…
You are trying to focus, and you fix your eyes on the wall and instead of getting work done, you notice a spot. “I should paint the walls” comes to your mind and you just can’t stop thinking about anything else but the work you have to do. There are always many things to do at home.
How to fix it: Clear your head from these distractions by writing them on a list. Keep a to-do list on the computer or on a notebook. So whenever you move your focus from work to your home duties you just jot them down and move on.
Plan your day
It is widely known that people who get things done plan their day. Depending on the line of business you are in, you might feel this is not necessary, but when you find hard to focus at home, then it is a critical step.
How to fix it: Get a planner or make a weekly or daily calendar where you can see the available hours in a day. Is it hard to plan the whole day? Start with delimiting the hours you want to be working, for example: from 9 am to 5 pm. Then you can schedule your lunch and breaks, and after that, get into detail. This visualization will give you an overall perspective of where should your mind be focused at that moment.
A break is a pause. It is meant for you to stretch your body and clear your head after a couple of hours of being concentrated on a single task. Taking a break will help you not to burn out. If you were at the office, you would stand up to pick up coffee; you’d have lunch outside and chat with your coworkers.
How to fix it: Are you using a planner? Go ahead and select when and where to take your breaks. Take small “coffee” breaks between tasks and do lunch at lunchtime instead of eating snacks along the day.