Working from home is becoming more standard practice for business professionals. 24% of business professionals worked from home in 2015 and that number is expected to grow. While working from home has a lot of benefits, it also comes with its own list of distractions. How can you stay focused and motivated?
Make sure your home office is open and inviting. To yourself, that is. You want to make sure that you actually like your workspace so that you will want to spend time there. Make sure that the color makes you happy, add some pictures of your family or places you have traveled. If you can, set up your home office in a well-lit area that has a door so that you won’t be distracted by your family or a roommate.
Action Tip: If you don’t love your home office, take 10 minutes to decide how you can spruce it up this week to make it feel more inviting. Does it need new paint, a plant, or a picture on the wall? Decide what day you will make the change this week and put it on your calendar.
Take breaks. Don’t feel that you have to be glued to the computer for every minute you are working at home. The key here is to stay balanced. If you were at the regular office, you would take a few minutes to chat with workmates and a coffee break as well as lunch. So take your breaks at home as you would if you were at the office. Get up and walk around. And if you can, eat your lunch at your dinner table. This will allow you to disconnect mentally from work so that you feel recharged. If some of your family members are at home while you are working, don’t feel as though you can’t speak to them. If you have school-age children, perhaps you can plan your 10–15 minute break when they first get home from school. Try to plan your lunch so that you can eat together. Things like this will make it easier for your family to let you concentrate during work hours.
Action Tip: Talk with your family about how you can all respect the time you are working at home. Decide on a plan. Some have found it helpful to write their at-home work times on a blackboard.
Keep to a schedule. A big key to staying focused is keeping to a regular schedule. Avoid taking advantage of time when your employer thinks you are at work to handle personal matters. Let friends and others know your availability the same as you would if you were at the office. Trying to be in your personal and professional worlds at the same time is actually counterproductive. You won’t be able to concentrate on either task well and you will end up further behind in both worlds. Instead, keep to a structured work schedule. This will help you to complete your work assignments and then still have time for personal matters.
Action Tip: If you have trouble sticking to your work schedule at home, find an accountability partner. This could be your mate, mentor, or a friend. Let them know you are struggling and determine ways you can work on your self-discipline.
Guest Blogger Hallie Crawford is a certified career coach and founder of HallieCrawford.com. Her team of coaches help people find their dream job and make it a reality. She is regularly featured as an expert in the media including the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and US News & World Report. Visit her website at www.HallieCrawford.com for more information about her team's career coaching services. Set up a Complimentary Career Strategy Session with Hallie Crawford to get advice on your career goals. *Mention you saw us on Talent Zoo and receive a free bonus if you purchase a product or sign up for coaching.*
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