If you’re finding yourself getting easily distracted whilst working from home, and sometimes feel so overwhelmed to start your work, being productive at work can be a lot easier said than done.
What’s the solution then? We’ve come up with seven snippets of advice to help you stay focused whilst working so that you can use your time more productively and be more efficient.
1) Create an at Home Work Office
Working from home can sometimes mean that it is difficult to separate your work life away from your private life! According to The Journal of Vocational Behavior, when employees set clear boundaries between their work life and home life, they’re less likely to experience conflict between the two fronts.
By making some small adjustments you can increase your motivation to work, and help to create a clear distinction between the two in the comforts of your home.
If you are able to, try working in a different room to your bedroom or kitchen as this will not only reduce distraction, but also help your brain to distinguish between your bedroom which is a place to unwind and relax, and that of your home office where you want to be focused and able to work with speed and precision.
2) Create a Daily Routine
Although working from home allows you to have more flexibility in deciding when and where to work, for many people who value routine and structure, following the same daily schedule can help you to become more efficient. By opting to begin and finish work at the same time every day, this can also help to increase your motivation to complete tasks so that they aren’t left unfinished for the next day! This also means that you have a clearer balance between your work life and your private life.
By creating clear structures, this will also help you to create a balance which you can communicate with your colleagues at work. By working together on projects at the same time, this will increase the productivity of your own work as well as your team who will be able to reach out to you so you can bounce ideas off one another and be more productive.
Check out our article on why it’s important to create a daily routine HERE!
3) Create a Healthy Life, Work Balance
It is really important to maintain a balance between your work and private life to ensure that you prioritise your wellbeing and don’t experience a burn out! Along with taking time out for yourself and doing some self-care, whether that be some yoga or listening to some music you enjoy, often when we are at our happiest in our private lives, we are also most confident in the workplace (and vice versa)!
It is important to follow our daily routines and listen to how we are feeling in order to become more efficient in the workplace. Although we can’t meet up with friends at the moment due to the lockdown restrictions, you can still arrange virtual meetings using Facebook messenger, Whatsapp video calls or FaceTime. We would also recommend using a planner to schedule your weekly meetings and events for both work and in your personal life.
4) Make Time to Stay Active
Exercising regularly can help release endorphins and improve your general mood. Studies have proven that exercise is an effective but often underused treatment for mild to moderate depression. Exercise is proven to increase self esteem and mood by acting as an analgesic; releasing endorphins which interact with receptors in the brain and reduce your perception of pain.
Endorphins are also great for helping to trigger positive feelings in the body by reducing stress, warding off anxiety and helping to increase your sleep. If you’re working full time at the moment, taking some time out during the day such as in your lunch break by going for a walk will not only improve your physical health, but by being active you will also improve your concentration and efficiency! Exercise is proven to strengthen your heart, increase energy levels and even boost your levels of Vitamin D. By going outside for a brisk walk or run, you will increase your muscle tone and strength whilst creating a more positive and energising outlook on life.
Using a Harmoni desk can also help you feel more energised and focused at home. Harmoni is a new, sustainable brand of standing desks which are perfect to use in your home office! By opting to use an ergonomic desk setup, you will feel more energised and focused as standing helps to increase the blood flow around your body and deliver more oxygen and nutrients to your body’s cells (according to Dr. Satish Vayuvegula from VeinClinics).
5) Celebrate the Mini Successes
Given that we live in a digital culture where we are constantly scrolling on our phones to read the next best bit of information, we find ourselves quickly scavenging through Instagram to like other people’s photos; often putting our own successes and accomplishments into the background. As soon as one photo is published on Instagram, it is only a matter of time before we refresh our feed and that photo celebrating someone else’s or our own success becomes buried under all the content we are consuming on a daily basis.
Although it is definitely easier said than done, it is vital that we celebrate the milestones in our lives. From starting a new job, to even going for a walk during our lunch break, it doesn’t matter how big or small the outcome, it’s the fact that we are working towards a bigger goal. Yes, it’s admirable to achieve success and have an awesome outcome or picture to post on social media, but it’s also important to recognise our own intrinsic achievements on a personal level. At the end of the day it really doesn’t matter how our achievements stack up against someone else’s. It is important to remain our authentic selves, and celebrate the small things in life which bring happiness and long lasting comfort.
6) Listen to Music Or a Podcast
Unless you absolutely detest working with music on and prefer silence, the majority of humans enjoy working with some gentle background music. Research published in Nature Neuroscience found that music releases dopamine. In this study, researchers found that participants who listened to music experienced a 9% increase in their levels of dopamine, increasing participants’ mood as well as providing a more positive outlook as a result!
Music psychologist Dr Vicky Williamson from Goldsmiths, University of London stated that “this paper shows that music is inextricably linked with our deepest reward systems.”
So what does this mean? If you’re working from home, you won’t have the distractions of colleagues in the office, so why not try listening to some music or even creating your own playlist? What’s more, if you have lots of mundane, repetitive tasks in your job, play a podcast to help not only inspire you and help make you feel more creative, but it will also help you to work more efficiently with an increased positive mood.
7) Keep connected with Colleagues and Friends
Check in with your colleagues a couple of times during the week, even if you don’t have any meetings scheduled. By keeping in contact with colleagues you can help motivate each other to complete a task. Often when we remain social, this not only helps us to be more efficient with our work, but helps to improve our mood and wellbeing.
Also, be sure to reach out to friends and family members who you can’t meet up with at the moment. Even a little message every now and then might really help your friend feel less isolated, especially at the moment! Let your friends know you’re there for them and still want to support them. It’s a win-win!
If you’re feeling a bit down in the dumps at the moment, remember to be kind to yourself and to set realistic expectations.
That’s why it’s important to have some tips and tricks to hand in order to stay productive and efficient at work. If you are not feeling as motivated, knowing how to focus and increase your energy is vital in ensuring that you get your tasks completed for the day and feel a sense of achievement at the end of the week!
‘How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive’ by Andrea Lotz <https://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/10-tips-help-you-more-efficient-working-from-home.html>
‘How to Stay Sane and Productive Whilst Working from Home’ by Mercey Livingstone <https://www.cnet.com/health/how-to-stay-sane-and-productive-when-working-from-home/>
‘Need Help Staying Focused? Try These 10 Tips’ <https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/how-to-stay-focused>
‘Why It’s Important to Keep Your Work Life and Home Life Separate’ <https://www.charityjob.co.uk/careeradvice/keep-work-and-home-life-separate/>
‘The Importance of Routine’ <https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/your-stories/the-importance-of-routine/>
‘Exercise and Depression’ <https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/exercise-depression>
‘Why Music is Great For Your Mental Health’ <https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/your-stories/why-music-is-great-for-your-mental-health/>
‘Music “releases mood enhancing chemical in the brain”’ by Sonya McGilchrist <https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12135590>