7 Ways To Maintain Focus When Working From Home: A Guide
Updated February 3, 2023
Working from home can be attractive for individuals who want a different schedule and work setting. Telecommuting offers greater flexibility and conveniences over working in a traditional office, such as spending more time with pets during the day and preparing meals at home. In a remote work environment, it’s important to remain focused on tasks to meet deadlines.
In this article, we outline some easy steps to help you stay productive and focused when you work from home.
How to focus when you work from home
Here are seven simple steps you can take to stay motivated and productive when working from home:
1. Have a designated workspace
Whether you have a home office with a door you can close or just a small work corner in your kitchen, be sure your work-from-home area is designated as your professional office setup. A dedicated workspace allows you to focus on work and reduce distractions. Organize your home office and make sure it has good lighting and is both appealing and comfortable. Try incorporating photos, artwork and organizational tools to personalize your space.
Read more: How To Set Up a Home Office
2. Set a schedule
Working from home often allows the luxury of deciding when you plan to work. If you have flexibility with your team and responsibilities, aim to work during your most focused and productive hours, then stick to your chosen work schedule. Consider structuring your day as if you were at a physical office. When you work from home, you may be tempted to check work-related emails at all hours, but having allocated “office hours” at home can help clarify acceptable communication for you and your team. It can also help you establish boundaries between work and your personal life.
3. Make a to-do list
Part of having a business mindset is having a good routine and habits. Getting up and dressed for work can put you in a growth mindset. Dress comfortably and wake up at the same time every day.
Start your day with a to-do list. Put this list in a place where you can see it. As you complete a task from the list, cross it off. Add your tasks with urgent deadlines at the top of the list to help you prioritize them. As you see the list get smaller, you may feel more productive, which could result in increased focus and motivation.
4. Set boundaries at work and home
Family and friends might think that you’re always available because you work at home. Explain that working from home carries the same responsibilities as working in an office. For example, if you’re home with your partner, tell them, “I’m working at my computer from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today. I’m happy to talk at lunch, but otherwise, my schedule is pretty full with video meetings.”
There might be times when someone visits or contacts you unexpectedly. In these cases, be diplomatic and open for a few minutes, as you might with a colleague who stops to chat at your desk. You may occasionally have personal tasks you can take care of while working from home. In these situations, calculate how much time you need, complete it and then return to work. Your boundaries can allow you to maximize productivity, and you can understand when it’s time to take a break or focus on your tasks.
5. Take breaks
Taking a break while you work may sound counterproductive, but regular breaks can help you focus more on your work than you think. A lunch break to refuel your energy, stretch or go outside for some fresh air is likely to refresh you, so you’re ready to focus when you return to work. You might also consider inserting a longer break into your schedule to go to the gym or take a yoga class. Making time for your hobbies in a virtual workspace can help you maintain your work-life balance.
6. Establish objectives
Besides your to-do list and daily schedule, another way to maintain productivity when telecommuting is to create objectives for the progress you want to make each workday. Consider having an objective that includes a task you want to complete and a deadline for when you want to have it done. For example, your objective for the first half of your workday may be to respond to 10 emails within the first hour of your morning. Make sure your objectives are measurable and realistic so you can stay organized while you work.
7. Emulate a traditional office
If you spent a lot of your career in a traditional work environment, it may take some time for you to adjust to working from home. Consider organizing your home office so it emulates a setting where you’ve been productive in the past. For example, if you’ve grown accustomed to music playing in the background, you might compile a playlist to listen to while you work at home. If you’re used to working in a wide open space, consider setting up your virtual workspace in the living room, which may make you more comfortable.
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