I think ever since the social distancing guidelines and the shutting of schools came into practice last week, my most requested blog post has to be how to stay focused when working from home. There are so many people that have never worked from home in their lives, yet have been thrown into a very new way of working with no training and no idea of how to stay focused when working from home.
I have been predominantly working from home over a year now, so I thought this would be a good post for me to write and hopefully share my tips.
This seems like quite an obvious first point, but it is one that is often overlooked. Working in pyjamas is so comfortable, but is not the best option. Make sure to get up, put on your clothes and start the working day right. I always opt for a bra (crucial!), t-shirt and joggers, so its comfy but still better than slobbing about in pyjamas all day and night. When I have nothing “face to face” (such as Skype) I try and have a no makeup day to help my skin, and then when I do have something where I’m speaking directly, I put on a little bit of makeup. You don’t have to, but it definitely makes me feel more like I’m working, and makes me feel a bit more confident too! I actually try and do an OOTD for my working from home outfits on my Instagram, so maybe go check that out if you are needing some fashion inspiration for your work from home days!
Make a plan of the day
Honestly, this point is crucial wherever you are working, but definitely crucial when working out how to stay focused when working from home. Make yourself accountable! Its so easy when you are working from home to end up scrolling through your phone for hours, or being productive but not on the things you NEED to do (I see you all the people tidying your room). Write a list of everything you need to do (plus things you want to do) and then start working through that list the best that you can. See how many things you tend to get through a day, and then adapt your list so that you are adding or taking away things depending on your average productivity each day.
This is only applicable for students, but I also learnt a good tip from my friend Charlotte. When writing an essay, don’t sit down and cram it all in a few days as you will go insane. Instead, aim to write 200 words a day and then you will get it done, and be more likely to stay focused as each day you are only focusing on a small amount. If you are struggling for motivation, try it!
Schedule in a lunch break
I never used to do this until social distancing happened, but I have been trying to do it recently and it has actually really helped. Depending on my online classes for the day, I have scheduled in a lunch break to make sure I eat something and take a break. My family are all at home too, so having a tea break with them is a good way to take your mind off things for an hour before you go back to the laptop and the work. You would have a lunch break at school or work- so make sure you follow your routine as much as you can whilst working from home!
Keep in contact via email or Skype
Everyone is in the same boat, so make sure that you stay in contact whilst at home. Whether that be with your tutor or line manager, make sure that you are staying in touch throughout the day. Try and email as much as possible, or even set up a daily Skype chat at the start or end of each day for a brief on what has happened, and what should happen the next day. The key to staying sane when working from home is regular contact!! Even if that is a group chat with your classmates where you all join in to share notes and discuss work, please make sure you are not distancing yourself, as that is when feelings of isolation and loneliness comes in.
Try and set up a specific area to work
I didn’t do this for YEARS and since I have started working in a separate area to my bedroom, it changed my productivity game. I fully recognise that not everyone has this privilege (especially when multiple members of the household are having to work from home), but if you can find a separate place to work please do. I’ve taken over the kitchen table to come down and work away from my bedroom, and I also love it because I see my family when they are passing through the kitchen too. If I was locked in my room all day I know I would struggle with the isolation side of things, and I’m just hoping that I don’t have to self isolate fully as I can see how hard that would be.
I hope that these tips on how to stay focused when working from home will help people over the coming weeks, and I’m sure I will be able to write a part 2 if other people need some help. I hope that this advice can help you stay on track with whatever you need to get done right now, whether it be working from home, online learning or something else entirely. We are all in this together! If you have any more post requests please let me know as I’m trying to get as much direct content out at the moment to help people with these uncertain times.