When you had an office job, you dreamed of the days when you could work at home. You swore that the freedom of a flexible schedule would allow you to be super productive. Now that you’ve found a flexible job and are actually working from home, you’re, well, distracted and could use some good tips for staying focused at work. There’s that pile (or 10) of laundry to fold. Friends call you because they know you’re home and “available.” Your pooch gives you imploring looks for long strolls around the neighborhood. And hello, unlimited access to Facebook!
Don’t fret. With a little practice, you can truly take advantage of your at home job.
Tips for staying focused at work:
Write a List.
Keeping track of all your to-do’s will help you stay focused. That list will serve as a daily reminder of what has to get done. Checking off each item will inspire you to plow through your day.
Create a home office.
Sometimes you work a little from your bed—sometimes you create expense reports while lying on your couch. While it may be comfy to sometimes be slouchy, it’s definitely not helpful for your overall productivity. Find a space—even if it’s a corner in your kitchen—which will serve as your home office. Then, only work in that area and you’ll soon see how much more you can get done.
Structure your work day.
Let well-meaning family members and friends know that even though you’re home, you don’t have time for hour-long chats rehashing last night’s episode of The Real Housewives. Instead, chat with them briefly during one of your breaks for a quick boost. And stay on schedule by truly working the hours you’ve dedicated to your job.
Don’t graze all day.
Sure, you have access to unlimited snacks in your fridge. That doesn’t mean you should head downstairs every hour to slice off a piece of that double chocolate German cake. Take a break in the morning and afternoon (along with your lunch hour) in order to prevent yourself from incessant—albeit delicious—distractions. And read these 5 tips for telecommuters to battle overeating.
Keep yourself physically active.
One downside of working at home can be lack of physical activity. That lack of movement is not only bad for your body, but also your mind as it can cause your brain to become sluggish. So take advantage of rising spring temps and take a brisk walk on your lunch break. Spring showers have you home-bound? Pop in a cardio DVD for a quick 10 minute fitness boost. Your thoughts will become clearer and it will help you to be more productive for the rest of the day.
With a little restructuring—and a little persistence—you can become more focused and productive while working at home. Incorporate these tips a little at a time and you’ll see how much more you can get done during the day.