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Six ways to stay focused when working from home

While working from home can present great opportunities to eliminate the distractions we face at the office, for many people, the lack of structure inhibits their productivity.

If you find yourself adrift while working from home, the following tips can help you find your focus and get motivated to deliver outstanding work.

Substitute the commute

Give yourself a reason to get out of bed. While you may not have to rush to catch your train, committing to a quick morning jog or a living-room pilates session can be an effective way to not only get your blood pumping, but also to signal to your brain that it’s time to get to work.

Dress for success

When you’re not seeing anyone during the day, it can be tempting to stay in your pyjamas or loungewear. But getting dressed for work — even if only into smart casual clothes — can go a long way in helping switch your mindset from relaxation to work and prepare you for the day ahead.

Don’t let old habits die

As best as you can, try to keep up your normal office routine while at home. If you typically take a mid-morning coffee break at the office, do it at home — fix yourself a hot drink and use the time to have a brief online catch-up with a colleague. Maintaining even minor daily rituals create continuity for the days when you’re working from home. 

The deafening silence

If you’re used to working in a busy office, you may find the sudden lack of noise and buzz oddly distracting. Playing some music or a news broadcast softly in the background may help cut through the silence of your workspace and help you focus on your work. Just avoid anything that’s likely to cause further distraction, like upbeat pop music or a podcast that you like.

Set objectives for yourself

If you find the hours getting away from you, setting personal objectives for what you want to achieve during the day can help keep you on track. You may find it useful to set twice-daily objectives — one set to complete by lunchtime, and another to complete by the end of the working day. This minimises your risk of procrastinating and enables you to prioritise more important tasks for the start of the day.

Respect other people’s time

Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean there aren’t people relying on you to pull your weight. Working from home requires a great deal of trust between colleagues, and one way to earn that trust is by respecting other people’s time. Remember that your colleagues and customers have objectives too and waiting on you to respond to their emails or complete your part of a project impacts their ability to do their work. 

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