Working from home has become the new normal as many offices remain indefinitely closed. However, with kids learning remotely, roommates taking video calls, and the temptation of television and sweatpants at the ready, it can be easy for professionals to have trouble staying productive while adjusting to remote work. Here are a few tips to help you stay focused while working from home to ensure you stay efficient and effective.
Designate a working space
One of the most impactful things you can do for your focus at home is to create a work/life balance. Build a distinction between your working space and your living space so unrelated stressors don’t distract from your ability to work. Try to set up a space that’s designated purely for work to maintain it as a spot for mental focus that doesn’t include any personal distractions.
If you don’t have an office within your apartment, consider potential alternatives to maintaining your own separate workspace. Is there an unused closet that you can tuck a small desk into, or an unused corner in an infrequently trafficked room? Get creative with what you have available to keep your workspace safe.
Stick to a schedule
Like designating a workspace, it’s important that you create a strict schedule for yourself to differentiate personal time from work time. Working within specific hours will create a deadline for your work and improve motivation to work more efficiently. Utilize a calendar and to-do list to organize your daily tasks and plan your time the day before. This will allow you to stay on top of your responsibilities and maintain productivity.
Within this schedule, plan for breaks. Studies show breaks can help improve memory and creativity, refreshing your work, and improving your overall focus. Include a 10-minute break in your calendar for every 90 minutes of work, when possible, to boost your efficiency.
Dress for success
While it may be easy to wear pajama bottoms with a blouse for virtual meetings, research suggests that dressing as you would for the office will help you feel confident and focused while working remotely. Additionally, your dress will affect the way your colleagues perceive you over video calls, impacting the impression you leave and potentially the responsibilities you’re assigned.
Use your working wardrobe and find a balance between business wear and business casual attire to match your environment while still staying productive. Pair button-downs with sweaters and slacks, and put in the extra effort of wearing simple staples, like professional shoes, belts, and jewelry. Taking this extra time in the morning can help you carry yourself confidently and work efficiently throughout the workday.
Some studies show that your surroundings, such as the wall color and decor near your desk, can impact your ability to concentrate and feel mentally refreshed. Consider repainting your walls for a fun change. Blue and off-white colors are believed to be the best for offices as the brain subconsciously associates them with intellect and calmness. Decorations like office greenery can also significantly impact your concentration. Plants help filter out CO2, a compound that can lower decision-making abilities and clarity of mind.
Even the way you face your desk can impact your focus. Experts suggest you position your desk to face with your back to a window, if possible. This will allow you to utilize the natural light to illuminate your work and reduce the strain of blue light from your screen on your eyes.
Following these tips will help you improve your overall work output and focus while adjusting to the new norm of remote work. Just remember to maintain a distinction between your work and personal time and carve out space for you to just focus on your responsibilities; soon, you’ll be able to make remote work work for you.
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