Working from home is not easy. In fact, it can be one of the most difficult things you will do in your life. The truth is, it doesn’t have to be that way.
I’m not sure about everyone else but one of the things I’ve struggled with while working from home is staying focused. There are so many things that compete for my attention. I start the day thinking that my task list is manageable. Then I get to the end of the day and I might be able to cross off one or two of those things. Why? Because the laundry needed to be switched, then I saw the counter in the kitchen needed to be wiped down. Is that my stomach talking? Time to make lunch. Then I got a phone call while making lunch… and the list goes on, and on.
It doesn’t even stop there. I can be a hyper-creative type or ADD – depends on your definition. I get distracted by other projects that can be done later, and do them when the “right now” projects can wait. I’m sure I don’t need to point out what that does to your overall productivity.
Once I’ve realized that most of my day is gone, there’s an internal struggle and mass hysteria in my brain. Then I spend the next 6 to 8 hours forgoing sleep and taking loads of caffeine to keep myself awake long enough to finish what I said I would do. Then I pass out and then in a few hours, it starts all over again.
Don’t get me wrong, I love working from home. I’d like to say that those unproductive days are behind me, but that would be a lie. Life happens. I get it. I have found a few tricks to help myself stay more productive throughout the day. Before we get to those, there’s something you should do before considering new ways to be productive.
Working From Home Is A Choice
Let’s be blunt. You are the problem. Everything in your life is a choice by action or inaction. So get it through your head that YOU are the problem. Stop blaming anyone or anything other than yourself. Once you’ve done that, then let’s take a look at the following list.
1. Remove distractions
If your workspace is cluttered with people and distractions that will keep you from working, then the best choice might be to remove either the distraction or yourself.
I found that instrumental music played on my headphones is a good way to drown out the people around me.
If you decide to leave, there are several options like a coffee shop, the library, a nice quiet place works..
2. Give yourself a time limit
Something changes in my brain when I have a time limit associated to a task. If I planned out my day appropriately, then having time limits on the task that I have to work on is actually a good thing because then I compete with myself to see if I can get my work done earlier than the time allotted. If your tendency is to procrastinate, then this may help you when working from home.
3. Focus on things you’re really passionate about
It’s understandable that not everyone can work on things they truly love. Find the “silver lining” in what you’re doing that will connect you emotionally to the work. If nothing else, then connect yourself emotionally to the feeling you’ll have when the work is done and you have your paycheck.
4. Reward yourself upon completion
Sometimes all we need is a little reward at the end of our busy day. It doesn’t have to be something that you spend lots of money on, or something that takes a lot of time and effort. I would suggest that you pick something that you enjoy doing that would be a reward at the end of the day. This might give you the motivation you need to keep moving forward knowing that there’s something you enjoy waiting for you at the end.
The truth is that you can be successful while working from home. I encourage you to do whatever it takes to get yourself to the next level of productivity so that you can get where you’re going and enjoy your journey.