By: Lee Biggins, Founder and CEO of CV-Library.
Working from home is a challenge for many reasons. You’re away from your colleagues; which makes checking emails and correspondence becomes even more important. However, the most difficult aspect of remote working, is the unprecedented level of focus that’s required throughout the day.
To help you avoid powerful distractions such as TV and housework, try using the tips below to stay focused when you’re working remotely.
Set boundaries with the people you live with
In order to stay on task, it’s important to set boundaries with whoever you live with. Let them know what is and isn’t acceptable, when you’re working from home. That way, you’ll be able to keep your focus and avoid distractions from other people in the house.
Be sure to communicate how important it is that you’re able to concentrate when you’re working from home. If you need to be left on your own during particularly busy periods of the day; or prefer to work in a quiet environment, then it’s vital that you let your family members or flatmates know. After all, no-one is psychic, and they won’t know what your work schedule looks like.
However, setting boundaries becomes difficult if you have children. In this case, we recommend booking childcare, rather than trying to juggle both work and kids.
Work in suitable conditions
Another way to stay focused is to allocate a room or area in your house as a dedicated space for work. This will enable to separate your home life from your career, when working from home.
This will be most effective if you choose a room without distractions such as books or magazines. It’ll also be beneficial if the space is tidy and without clutter. The room you base yourself in should also be away from other people. The last thing you need is someone distracting you by walking in and out of the room all day.
If there’s any music that will help you concentrate, try playing that, too. With that said, you can tailor your room to whatever keeps you focused. Just don’t be tempted to lounge on the sofa all day!
Work on a company laptop with restricted access
If you’re easily distracted by social media or surfing the internet, you might want to ask your company to provide a laptop with restricted Internet access. We know it can be tough to avoid Netflix when you’re working from home; and using a restricted access laptop will help keep you on track.
For instance, you could ask to only have access to work-related material. That way, you’ll prolong your focus and avoid the bottomless pit of online distractions such as Facebook and YouTube. If there’s anything specific that might knock your focus, ask your employer’s IT department to block that, too.
This is another way to customise your workspace and keep you focused, whilst also showing your employer you’re taking remote working seriously.
Take frequent breaks to keep your focus
Working from home can be more distracting because you’re in your own personal space. It’s much harder to get back on track after losing focus; so, take frequent pit stops either side of your ‘lunch break’. That way, you’ll avoid going off course and be able to pay attention to the task at hand.
We advise taking a five-minute break at the end of each hour. This will help you concentrate on your daily tasks, while still giving you a much-needed breather. After all, even your office-based colleagues will stop for a tea break.
Craft a schedule in advance and stick to it
Time management is a big part of staying focused when working from home. As such, it’s important to craft a work schedule in advance and stick to it. Instead of fixating on chores or the TV, you’ll have an established set of work-related goals, leaving you with a more focused mind-set.
A great way to make a schedule, is to use the calendar function on your work email. Allocate a timeframe to complete each task and block it out in your diary. This will help you to remain focused at home and make sure you prioritise your most important tasks.
Holding yourself accountable with your manager is another way to remain focused at home. By letting your manager know what output they can expect from you, you’ll be forced to produce a certain level of work; eliminating your ability to slack off without getting caught.
So, at the start of each week be sure to send your manager a list of tasks that you’re going to complete by Friday. You should also schedule in a call with them during the week to discuss how you’re getting on. By taking responsibility for your tasks and letting your manager know what they can expect, you’ll find it easier to stay focused and avoid the lure of distractions.
If you take our advice, you’re guaranteed to stay focused when working from home – despite all the distractions.