The novel coronavirus has made a huge impact on the world as we know it.
People have been asked to stay home as much as possible and practice social distancing.
For many of us, this means that we’re taking our jobs home, and we get to work remotely.
If you’ve never worked remotely before, it might seem like a dream come true and a walk in the park.
“You get to work from home? That’s so easy.” “Lucky!” “I’d like to wake up late, stay in my pajamas all day and do whatever I want too.”
As a person who works from home, these are a few of the things I hear quite often.
And while working from home is something I cherish and it truly is a dream come true, it certainly does come with its own set of difficulties. Staying focused and getting things done can be difficult sometimes.
When you work from home, you are accountable for yourself. No one is there looking over your shoulder and pushing you to get your work done.
It all comes down to how you’re going to take on your day.
10 Tips For Working From Home and How To Stay Focused While Social Distancing
So today, I’m going to be sharing 10 things I learned while working from home, what habits helped me stay productive and on top of my tasks, and what I do to stay focused. Let’s get into it!
1. Have a Designated Space for Working
This is my biggest tip that I could ever give you when it comes to working from home.
Don’t just roll over in your bed in the morning, grab your laptop, and start working.
You need to have a designated workspace where your brain recognizes that “this is a place that we get stuff done”.
Your bed is a place your brain recognizes as a sleepy place. So if you get all cozy and work there, you won’t be as productive and will likely get tired.
What you can do is go to a corner in your home where there is lots of natural light, set up a little table, and make it aesthetically pleasing so that it’s a place your where brain says “I want to go there because it’s nice and clean, looks good, and I get work done there.”.
I have learned from experience that I get the most work done when I’m sitting at my desk. I only work at my desk and do nothing else there, so it’s easy for me to get work done there, as opposed to sitting on the couch where I could easily be distracted by the tv. Or my cute dogs
2. Have A Good Morning Routine – Get Dressed
My second most important tip for staying focused while working from home is to have a great morning routine and treat workdays, like workdays.
I admit, some days I do like to relax and chill in my sweats, throw on my glasses, get a cup of coffee, work and call it a day.
But those days are not my most productive.
I recommend that every day before you start work that you wake up reasonably earlier than when you should start working, that you shower and get dressed, have some time to relax and wake up, then start working.
The way you look can directly correlate to how you feel.
When you work from home and no one sees you, you have to show up for you.
When you dress for success, you’re going to have a better day. Guaranteed.
3. Make a To-Do List
Once you’re in your designated working space, you’re dressed and have your coffee in your hand, it’s time to get to work.
But what are you going to do today?
It’s so important to make a to-do list every day before you start work. When you work from home, lots of the days get jumbled together and you can’t seem to remember things as well as you would in an office in town.
I recommend that you make a “weekly goals” list, and then a to-do list every day.
This will keep you on track and motivated to keep going when you see all the little tasks you get to tick off every few hours.
4. Have a Schedule Guideline
This is optional, but something I enjoy writing along with a to-do list is an hourly timeline.
When you work from home, it’s easy to get distracted, so I find that if I say, “Okay, from 8-10, I want to focus on emails and communicating with my clients and from 10-12 I want to work on my new visuals,” then I’m way more motivated to get things done than if I just set vague goals.
When I set some hourly goals, I am much more satisfied with my workflow, and reward myself with a pretty long break to play with the dogs and go for a short walk.
5. Try Out The Pomodoro Technique
Another highly useful productivity tip is to follow and practice the Pomodoro technique.
This technique states that you should work in increments, as it is one of the most productive ways to work.
So here’s how you do it.
Set a 20 minutes timer. In those 20 minutes, you smash out as much work as you can, with no distractions.
Have the timer will set a sense of urgency and you’ll get things done quickly. It’s like a game that awakens our inner, competitive child to beat the clock.
Once the timer goes off, you take a short, 5-minute break as a reward for your focused work. In this time you can stretch, get a cup of tea, or check your social media and reply to texts.
You repeat this 20-minutes-of-work-and-5-minutes-of-break cycle 4 times before you take a long, proper break of 15 to 20 minutes.
Try this method out and let me know how it worked for you! It works wonders for me and my easily distracted self.
6. Use a Time Tracking Tool
The Pomodoro technique is awesome because even though you’re taking a lot of breaks, you’re working way more efficiently and the breaks don’t add up to much time at the end of the day.
If you catch yourself taking more breaks than working, then maybe you should consider using a time tracking tool.
Clockify is a free time tracker that will keep you accountable throughout the day so you get your tasks done.
It’s also nice to see how much you’ve done throughout the day so that you can adjust your workflow for the next day until you get the hang of staying focused working from home.
7. Use a Team Collaboration Tool
If you used to work from an office with all your colleagues and planning was done easily, but now you’re all working remotely and can’t stay on top of tasks, you’re not alone.
That’s where a team collaboration tool comes in handy.
Airfocus is a team collaboration tool that’s going to help you and your team prioritize what needs to get done and when. Everyone will have access to the schedule so no one is left out of the loop.
Not only did they develop an amazing tool, but they’re also supporting small businesses that are taking hits from COVID-19 and giving them 6 months of the starter plan for free.
Airfocus is definitely my team’s favorite tool that we ever used, and I highly recommend that you and your team try it out.
Get your hands on it while you can!
8. Set Boundaries For Yourself
You need to set up some boundaries for yourself if you’re truly serious about staying focused while working from home.
You need to decide how much downtime you’re going to give yourself, how long you’re going to spend on social media, how long your lunch break will be, etc.
Without setting boundaries for yourself, you can get lost in your free time, only to realize that “omg it’s 5 o’clock already??” and then pull an all-nighter, which nobody wants.
Setting boundaries will create freedom for you.
9. Talk to People You Care About
Working from home, especially if you don’t live with someone or have a roommate can get really lonely.
Especially now that you can’t even go on a walk in town and socialize a little.
Even though we are social distancing, that doesn’t mean that we are socially distant.
Facetime someone that you care about, that makes you happy.
Even just a call on the phone and seeing or hearing the person you care about is going to make your day that much better and make you feel less lonely.
Set up a lunch date with someone and have lunch over a video chat.
Trust me, it’s a must.
10. Get Some Fresh Air and Sunshine
Finally, get a breath of fresh air every time you need it.
Follow the rules and regulations that your country has given, and if you can, go for a brisk walk. This will boost your creativity by a million and you’ll be more inspired to work when you come back inside.
If you can’t go for a walk, open a window and let your face meet the sun for a few minutes.
Fresh air brings new ideas and the sun is scientifically proven to boost your mood.
Alright you guys, this is where I’m going to wrap things up.
The more we stay inside, the more we slow down this terrible virus, and the sooner we can all go back to the beautiful world as we know it.
Stay safe during this time and enjoy working from home while you can.
Until next time,
Stay creative, folks!