Millions of people worldwide are working from home as the current pandemic continues. Working from home is the best solution to slow the spread of the virus and keep people as safe as possible, but that doesn’t mean remote work is without complications or challenges. Working from home can be a fantastic change for many, but you must properly combat the new challenges that do not exist in a traditional office environment. Procrastination and distraction are two of the biggest issues you will face while working from home, but with the right tactics and preparation, you can mitigate the issues. Make the most out of your time working remotely. Use these tips and tricks to ward off procrastination and remain productive, but comfortable while working from home.
Drown Out and Manage Distractions
Procrastination usually stems from not wanting to do your assigned task and seeing something more fun to do instead. If you can hear your housemates watching TV in the other room, it can be so tempting to blow off work for a little bit to join them. There are a few ways you can handle this issue. Start with talking to your housemates about hours where you would appreciate some quiet, but that is not always possible. You can try to physically distance yourself from distractions or tempting reasons to procrastinate, but houses are only so big.
When all else fails, you can grab a pair of wireless headphones, a pair of earbuds, or even a gaming headset to drown out the distracting sounds while you work. Wearing headphones to muffle distractions works, but you can take it a step further by creating a work-centric playlist. Put on music that helps you focus and stay in the zone or a podcast you can half-listen to while you work. Studies have shown music can help you when you workout and helpful audio can do the same while working from home. Take care that the audio you put on doesn’t shift your procrastination from one source to another. Whatever you listen to while you work should bolster your productivity and focus, not hinder it.
Set A Schedule
When you were not working from home, you had a schedule. You knew what time you had to get up to get to work on time, when lunch break was, and what time to learn the office and head home at the end of the day. Since switching to remote work, you may have abandoned your schedule or daily routine. You no longer must commute to work, there are no coworkers to tell you when it’s lunch time or when the day is over. A lack of a routine can be freeing, but it can also be too freeing. Set a new schedule that will keep you on track, so you don’t start work too late, accidentally skip lunch, or work past normal hours.
Part of your schedule should include breaks and task prioritization. Keep track of what you have to do and when it must be done, so you can weave breaks into your daily routine. Breaks are important to reset your brain and give you a short reprieve from hard work, but do not overindulge breaks. Keep your breaks short, get back to work, and walk away from work when it is time to be done for the day.
Everything You Need Within Reach
When you are procrastinating, anything can become a reason to not work. From dishes in the sick to feeling like a snack or wanting to work in a different space, there are an endless number of reasons you could procrastinate. Much of fighting procrastination comes down to willpower, but you can set yourself up for success by limiting the reasons to get up from your workspace. Before you sit down to work, ensure you have everything you need so you don’t have a reason to get up and procrastinate further.
Your workspace should be comfortable, but not to the point of lounging. A stable desk, comfortable chair, and all the necessary equipment should be the bare minimum for a home office. You can add flare to your home office with colorful decorations, plants, and other things that make your work easier. If you are working from a laptop, consider investing in a standard 27” monitor for a second display. A second monitor might seem like a luxury, but it will make finding what you are looking for much easier and means you don’t have to hunch over a small laptop screen.
Working from home can be fantastic, but it does come with challenges. Fight off procrastination by replacing distracting noises with helpful audio, set a schedule to keep your days on track, and keep everything you need within reach to keep yourself focused on work.