So, you work from home and enjoy all the perks that come along with it. Or do you?
Surely, the pleasure of working in your pajamas is second to none. You may also find that having six tabs opened concurrently — and most likely unrelated to your job — on your computer screen without a boss looking over your shoulder is quite amusing.
But let’s get real!
The emergency call from your friend in a tizzy about a recent breakup can wait. Diversions can be ignored with no sweat when working in a traditional office. But at home, they’re simply too tempting to ignore.
This article will rundown 8 tips to for working remotely so you can keep distractions at bay during your at-home working hours.
Set Up Working Hours
This may seem like an easy undertaking, but unless you have the discipline of a saint, it’s going to take considerable effort to set up working hours and stick to them. If the time you’ve set aside to work is a free-for-all, there’s nothing to stop you from adding non-work related chores.
Like cleaning the fridge, perhaps?
The idea of working from home means being free from the 9-to-5 grind, right? Well, not really. You’re definitely going to have to grind, but under your own terms.
Setting up “office hours” and having the discipline to “stick to them” will make you more productive and able to concentrate better. If you become distracted, ask yourself, “Would I be doing this if I was working in a traditional office setting?”
The answer is probably no!
By creating a specific block of time for working, you’ll be able to improve both concentration and productivity.
Setting up working hours also includes prioritizing tasks. Set your working hours around a system that prioritizes and identifies projects that will befit your clients and business the most. Get rid of all the frivolous things that don’t bring value to your work time and “concentrate” on those that do.
Create a Work Space
Let’s face it:
Using your kitchen as an office one day and your living room the next won’t do much to improve your concentration.
Choose a space that offers the best potential for a productive work environment with as little distraction as possible. Your workspace is your “money-making area.”
You can’t fit all of your stuff into your designated workspace. Put them in an area that allows unfettered access to them.
See Also: 8 Ways To Set Up An Awesome Home Office
Get Dressed For Success
You can probably concentrate working in your pajamas. However, if you use video chat apps like Skype, you will have to dress appropriately. Yes, that means brushing your teeth, doing your hair, and looking professional at least from the waist up.
You will discover that when you dress for success, a “business mindset” evolves, reinforcing your concentrated efforts. Put on something comfortable, but make sure that whatever you wear gives you energy and a sense of accomplishment, even if it’s your favorite stretch pants or multicolored hoodie.
Where Is Your Ground Zero?
The words “wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home” should be the telecommuting industry’s anthem. With telecommuting, “home” is wherever you feel comfortable doing your job which, in most instances, will probably be at home.
But, do you have a favorite cafe, park bench or a communal office where you find it easy to concentrate and focus on your work?
Any place that you can use constructively as a refuge for your tasks is considered “home” in the world of remote workers.
The 52/17 Rule
Have you ever heard of the 52/17 rule?
According to research, it’s a tested method that helps improve concentration and productivity. The 52/17 rule concept is straightforward.
For every 52 minutes of work time, you take a 17 minute break. Nonetheless, reading about the 52/17 rule is the easy part; applying it is another story.
Let’s put it this way:
There’s room for adjustment. Maybe a 5-minute break every 45 minutes suits you better. Or you prefer to work in 60-minute spurts with 10-minute breaks. Experiment and find your balance.
There’s another technique that helps with concentration called the Pomodoro Technique. This method suggest breaking down large tasks or a spate of projects into smaller, clocked intervals known as “Pomodoros.”
The method similar to the 52/17 rule supposedly assists remote workers with maintaining focus during long working hours. Still, according to scientific research, users of the technique were more productive when working in short intervals and taking more breaks to boost energy.
Be Strict About Deadlines
Deadlines are part-and-parcel when it comes to your work and extremely beneficial for concentration. Setting realistic deadlines helps you focus more on the task at hand.
How many times have you left a phone call unanswered because you had to “concentrate on your work in order to meet a deadline?”
Setting targets will subtly improve your concentration with little to no effort on your part.
Some of you may think daydreaming is a major faux pas when it comes to working from home. However, research has proven that daydreaming is actually good for the mind.
In fact, roughly 48% of participants in an extensive study spent much of their waking time daydreaming the day away. It comes down to “working memory.” You see, the more working memory you have, the better you can concentrate on your work, even while thinking about something else.
Consider it this way:
Your computer has physical and virtual memory. Your physical memory is your “working memory” and your virtual memory is your “probing psyche.” It doesn’t really remember anything as it simply drifts from one thought to another.
The physical memory is restricted but virtual memory has the capacity for more storage. Research reveals that “daydreaming” or “mind wandering” gives your working memory a boost.
Daydreaming also increases your problem-solving skills and helps you concentrate and focus better on individual tasks.
Isolation and Concentration
To be honest, working from home may leave you feeling a bit isolated. However, the isolation can be overlooked if you “concentrate” on your work.
In fact, you’ll hardly notice your voluntary solitude. Besides, there are tasks that need completing. Rather than mope about how “lonely and isolated” remote work makes you feel, divert your mind and get moving with the task at hand!
The secret of effective concentration while working from home is about constructing an environment and system that match your specific needs and priorities. OK, you may have to try a little-bit-of-this and a little-bit-of-that in order to come to a definitive balance. But, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Try out these tips for working remotely and see for yourself.
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Author: Jitin Kanwar
Jitin Kanwar is a digital marketer at Time Doctor, a time tracking and productivity monitoring software designed for tracking hours and productivity of remote teams. Previously he has run his own business as well as worked with various brands as an executive as well as a freelancer to ensure sustainable revenue and growth. Jitin is a creative and dynamic marketer with proven expertise in consistently penetrating new markets using digital channels.