By Ryan Velez
Whether you live the freelance life or are able to work away from the office a few times a week, people working from home have become more and more common as work as we know it changes. While the benefits of working from home are known to many (flexibility, no commute), there are also unique challenges. Easily the biggest one is potential for distraction, and a recent Black Enterprise article provides insight on how you can cut down in this area.
One of the best things you can do is take advantage of the fact that your hours aren’t set at home by working during peak productivity. Everyone has certain times and patterns in their lives when they are less susceptible to distraction. Try to pinpoint these areas, then avoid putting in mundane tasks like interviews, email, or similar things during your peak times. Another easy thing you can do to try and cut down on distractions is to use a designated work area. For example, the bed or couch is associated with relaxation and comfort, not the best things when it comes to work. If setting up a home office isn’t an option, you can always put together a smaller work area. Working in this area lets you build a mental association with productivity.
When you are trying to work, taking a break may sound counterproductive, but the ability to take a break to stay on task is a unique benefit to working from home. For example, have you had to power through a task while you were mentally fatigued? Often times, pondering how tired you are takes up some of that energy. At this time, just take a break. Your break should be a true break, not just going to Youtube for ten minutes. Walk outside, do a little meditation. Eat your lunch in a different room. Leaving your work area helps you rest and relax so you are ready to go when you get back on task.
Of course, when you work from home, there are going to be home activities you need to deal with as well. Laundry, cooking, other chores, these are naturally going to present themselves. A good way to handle this is to schedule the non-work items that you can’t avoid. By choosing when you work out or clean up, you can dedicate your work time to specifically doing that, as opposed to having in creeping in the back of your mind when you are trying to work.