Working from home comes with a unique set of privileges and responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is consistently maintaining high levels of concentration in your home environment, where the instinct is to relax rather than to knuckle down.
Your concentration will falter occasionally, but there are some steps you can take to control it. We have addressed the ten most important factors that affect your focus during the working day.
Set your working hours (and stick to them)
You are not exempt from a 9 o'clock start when working from home. Stick to office hours as much as possible; the routine will help you concentrate during the day and sleep at night. Keep your alarm set as if you were going to commute and spend the time on a morning meal.
Write a to-do list every single day
Consider your objectives every morning. By doing this you establish a set of achievable goals, breaking a potentially daunting daily workload down into manageable chunks. Work that has no visible end goal will compromise your momentum and your focus.
Define your working area
Being able to focus on the task in hand depends partly on physically excluding irrelevant things from your area. It doesn't matter if this is a wood-panelled study or a desk in the dining room; you need to create boundaries between working space and leisure space. Never work on the sofa.
Tell your family to leave you in peace
It's easy to assume that because you're home, you are available to help with homework or chores, but the reality is that your time has been bought by somebody else. This has a lot to do with the point above: if you respect your workspace, your family will too.
Keep in touch with your colleagues or clients
Remember how much you talked to clients, colleagues and key players when you were in the office. You need to maintain a similar level of dialogue via email and, most importantly, phone. Frequent and effective conversation helps keep you focused and consolidates your role in the team. Finding an accountant is also an important element of this, autonomously handling your finances can be a bad step so you should consider consulting people like Brookson for financial assistance.
Keep your workspace clean
An untidy desk is a constant distraction and impedes productivity. Even if your work is largely online, keep your area mess-free.
Take regular breaks
Force yourself to get away from the computer at least once an hour. Try focusing on something far away every thirty minutes. This is the equivalent of stretching your fingers after a long typing session. If you go to the bathroom, don't take your phone with you.
Eliminate distractions at all costs
If you know you're likely to waste time on something, eliminate it from your day. There's a reason why workplaces block social media websites and YouTube. You may have to do that in your home office too.
Your health is your most important asset
Don't underestimate the seriousness of mental health issues. Sleep deprivation, poor diet, lack of exercise, loneliness; all of these and more will have a negative effect upon your well-being, which in turn will destroy your ability to concentrate.
Leave work at the end of the day
Leaving work in a timely fashion is almost as important as starting punctually. A good night's sleep will enable you to concentrate the following day and by clocking off at a set hour, you give your brain and your eyes a much-needed relaxation period before bed. When you're working from home, it's imperative to create a boundary between the two.
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