By Tomilola Aiyepola
It can be challenging to keep your focus when working from home, which you might have to do as a start-up. So many things just seem to demand your attention at the time when you are supposed to be working.
The fact that you are at home makes it easier to give in to these distractions. These tips would however help you to work from home and still keep 100% focus.
- Establish a work area
The first important thing to do is to create an office space or area to work, away from all the distraction. A room would be preferable to reduce the interruption of your thoughts and ideation process. You should also choose somewhere away from the window to keep your mind from wandering when looking outside. Also, be sure to think about important factors like storage space for filing and similar things and possibly, create room for a colleague or two additional people who can join in when necessary.
- Get everything you need.
For your work-space, you would need a desk, a chair that is comfortable enough to work but not so cozy that you would get lazy. You would also need basic tools like computer, internet modem, printer, filing system, office supplies, business phone and so on. Make sure you put everything in place, including a snack, drink and stress ball, if possible; so you don’t keep stepping away to pick something you need.
- Make a to-do list everyday
Be sure to plan out what you want to do daily. Arrange them in order of priority and stick to the list. Should you exhaust the list earlier than envisaged, stretch or walk around but be sure to return shortly before your mind relaxes too.
- Get dressed
It is usually so tempting to just stay in your pajamas since you are at home. Do not succumb to that temptation. Get up and get dressed. This would help you get more serious with the work and give you a sense of purpose towards achieving what you need to that day. In today’s workplace, virtual meetings and conference calls are the order of the day, when dressed; calls can be scheduled at very short notice without any concerns.
- Close notifications and designate browsers.
Close or mute all unnecessary notifications. Dedicate a browser to work – related tabs so that you don’t get distracted by other things while working. You can use another browser for things that are not work related so you know not to open that when you are working. Keep your other mobile devices in silent or vibrate mode to reduce instant messaging applications from distracting you.
- Set your work hours or schedule
You must set your hours or create a schedule for work. Are you going to be working from 9am to 5pm? 10am to 2pm? Plan a schedule for your work and be sure to include breaks. You can take a walk during breaks to give yourself a different scenery before getting back to work. Also include meal times during your breaks to avoid taking short snack breaks every other hour.
- Be organized
Have an organized system for documentation and filing like a real office. This way, you would locate everything easily and not waste time trying to remember where you put something. This is why storage space must be considered in creating your home office.
Get yourself a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones to drown out the noise and keep your concentration in check. If possible, a work playlist may help to keep you engaged longer than normal. Remember to keep the volume low so you do not miss phone calls.
- Go out to work sometimes.
You can go to hubs or shared work-spaces to work from time to time. Here is a list of some recommended ones in Nigeria. For some reason, it works like magic and you are able to concentrate better on your work when others are present. Also, schedule physical meetings often to break the monotonous idle work flow.
- Understand those you live with.
If you live with your family or other people, reach an understanding with them. Let them know that you are working at set hours and should not be disturbed or interrupted.
In as much as you take on all these tips, do not overdo anything. Go out from time to time to socialize so you can also build new networks and meet people. Leave space for normal human interaction that won’t distract from your actual work.
In conclusion, many have built successful businesses and excelled at their jobs working from home by incorporating some or more of these tips into their working habits. Sometimes, all you need to do is keep your brain from wandering. Nonetheless, have fun while working from home!
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