Working from home. Sounds like the dream, right? You roll out of bed and straight to the sofa, sit around in your pyjamas all day, and the snacks are never out of reach. Well, we hate to break it to you, but if you want to be productive when working from home, there are a few no-nos you absolutely have to know.
Anyone who’s ever worked in an office will be familiar with the distractions that kind of environment can bring. While it’s true that when you’re working from home there won’t be people shouting across the room or putting the air conditioning on while you’re already freezing, it does come with its own set of distractions. Luckily, we’re here to give you some hints and tips about how to stay focused and practise some self-control while working from home.
So what are our tips for self-control while working from home?
Don’t work in your pyjamas
We can’t stress this one enough. Whether you realised it or not, getting ready for work in the morning wakes you up, so that by the time you sit down at your computer your brain is already where it needs to be. Dressing professionally can make you feel mentally ready for work as well as physically – and while you may not need to put on a full suit just to sit at your desk, at least make sure you’ve brushed your teeth and are wearing pants.
Have a specific work area
While working from the sofa or your bed may be tempting, try to resist the urge. Having a designated work area will help you to get into the right frame of mind, while keeping the relaxation areas of your home separate so that it’s easier for you to click off and destress at the end of the day. It’s also worth considering that sitting for long periods of time (like a work day) in the wrong kind of chair (like a sofa) can cause problems like back pain, neck pain and headaches, so you may want to invest in a proper desk chair to complete your home office.
You chose to work from home for a reason. You probably concentrate better that way, without all the office hustle and bustle and constant interruptions from coworkers. But that can quickly become a problem if you don’t make an effort to get out of the house every now and then. You’ll realise one day that you haven’t been outside or seen another human in a few days and that’s never good. So go for a walk, meet a friend for coffee, get some exercise – whatever you need to do to shake off the cobwebs. It’ll be good for your creativity too.
Know your hours
Without a set workday schedule, it can be easy to let work creep into other parts of your life, so make sure you know when to switch off and focus on other things. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is good for you and will allow you to relax so that when you do start work in the morning, you’re refreshed and raring to go.
Don’t get sucked into a social media rabbit hole
We’ve all been there – a message from an old friend pops up on Facebook, you stop to answer it, and before you know it you’ve scrolled your entire Instagram feed, YouTubed songs from your childhood and are now knee-deep in a Buzzfeed quiz to see what truth about yourself your ramen preferences reveal. Luckily, there are apps for that – download one of these to keep you focused.
It’s the old carrot-and-stick routine – having something to look forward to will help you keep yourself motivated through a particularly difficult project or a long day.
Resist the snacks
Another key issue that can arise when working from home is the fact that you’re never too far from the fridge. When you worked in an office, it wasn’t too difficult to restrict your eating to mealtimes and maybe a sensible snack a couple of times a day. However, stress, boredom and procrastination can all send you to the kitchen in search of a distraction. And without coworkers around to judge you, it’s easy to overindulge.
So how do you avoid a ‘snaccident’ and keep your health (and your waistline) in tip-top shape?
We all know that thirst can be confused with hunger, so when you feel a craving coming on, why not have some water instead? The recommended daily amount is eight glasses. However, if that sounds like a lot, we find that having a big bottle of water next to us on our desk helps to get those sips in.
Substitute snacks with other fun activities
Those rewards we mentioned? They don’t have to be food. You could watch a quick episode of your favourite show, chat with a friend, maybe even head outside for a little walk in the sun.
Ditch the junk food
If you really have to snack, try keeping some healthy foods on hand. Things like fruit, a little bit of peanut butter or even a couple of squares of dark chocolate (though we recommend not trying this one unless you have the willpower to stop yourself from eating the whole bar) are good substitutes for those sugar cravings. Look for foods that are high in fibre and protein, as these will keep you full until your next mealtime rolls around.
Time to give it a try
So now you’re well-equipped with the knowledge you need to practice self-control while working from home. Are you ready to give it a go? If so, come and write for us at Topcontent! You would be a perfect addition to our large pool of expert freelancers – and if you happened to fancy a cookie or two while working, we promise we wouldn’t tell anyone.
Join us today!