We have all read the blogs and articles about how we should have regular breaks, whether that be a five-minute break to make a cup of coffee in your work day or a week in another country lying on a sunbed recharging the batteries. Other days, however, we just need to be able to focus on getting certain tasks done and getting in the 'zone'. This may be one of those days where it would be more beneficial if you worked from home to avoid the general day to day distractions of life in the office, but what is the best way to stay focused and in the zone whilst trying to complete those important jobs?
1. Allocate space to work
Sitting in the living room with the telly on for background noise whilst working through your 'important tasks' to do list will not help you. No matter how convinced you are that the telly won't distract you, the background noise is exactly what you are avoiding in the office, it will keep you from being completely focused, if you do wish to have background noise that will not distract you, try choosing an 'office playlist'. As well as that, sitting in the seat where you will sit to calm down after a long day at the office, to complete your work will make it harder for you to get out of 'work mode' whilst you're spending time with your family of an evening.
2. Set times for breaks
Just like you would at the office, it is vital you have regular breaks. Did you know having a 30-second microbreak can increase your productivity up to 13% and a 15-second break from staring at your screen every so often can reduce your levels of fatigue by 50%! If you are in 'the zone' and focused, purposely disturbing yourself may not be the best idea but at the same time you need the break to keep those productivity levels up and you need to ensure you are taking regular breaks to make drinks or eat your lunch.
3. Create a daily plan
I have spoken before about how important planning is in order to stick to a schedule so instead of trying to complete a hundred things at once, take a step back and plan the crucial chores. If you're working from home to complete a task then create a plan so that you don't get distracted by little issues - that is after all the reason you worked from home. Allocate 20 minutes to work through your emails and deal with the major ones first, any others can wait until your jobs are done. You can also schedule any phone calls you have to make but keep them as short as possible.
4. Set and keep to office hours
Because you're working from home doesn't mean you should still be working at midnight. Try to stick to regular office hours, as I said in point two, taking regular breaks is vital and just as you would at work you should at home too, this also includes finishing times.
5. Work from your software
We couldn't leave this out, if you're a manager or director then you might have to keep on top of your team, whether you use something like Trello or you have your own system, using software can really help speed up the process and make communications between your team much better. If you are too snowed under with a huge pile of paperwork to be able to juggle tasks or even work from home occasionally then maybe custom software could be your perfect solution, after all, one size doesn't always fit all so why are we all using the same software packages?
By following these steps you might even be able to limit your time spent working at home and be able to get back to the office early. For more information, we would love to hear from you.