If you’re new to working from home, you might be finding it tricky to switch into ‘work mode’ when there are a thousand things to distract you – the kids, the washing up, the hoovering, the cat that just has to sit on your keyboard.
Here at Get Ahead VA, we know all about the challenges (and the joys!) of working from home, and we’ve got plenty of tips to help you minimise distractions and stay productive. So if you’re struggling with this new style of working, here are 7 top tips to help you adjust.
1. Set up your office
Tempting as it may be to work on your sofa, or in bed, the best way to get into the mental headspace for working is to set up a home office. This could be a whole room, complete with office chair and multiple screens, or it could simply be a table in a spare corner of the living room. Whatever your set-up, make sure you’ve got a comfortable chair and as little background noise as possible.
2. Put away the chores
If you find it hard to settle down and work when there’s housework to be done, there are a couple of solutions. First, you could dedicate half an hour in the morning to blasting through the chores – but do limit yourself to half an hour, or else the housework could turn into a full day of procrastination! Alternatively, you could simply move everything out of sight – make sure your desk isn’t facing the dishes or the laundry pile, and resolve to get to them when you’re done with work.
3. Establish quiet hours
Setting up quiet working hours can be difficult if there are other people (especially small children!) in the house, but if you can lay down some ground rules then do try. Let the people you live with know when you will be working, and put up a sign on your office door to remind them. You may find it easier to enforce quiet time if you work in short bursts throughout the day, rather than for several hours at a time.
4. Make a to-do list
Making a to-do list in the morning will help you to prioritise your workload and stay on task throughout the day. Try to be realistic about what you want to achieve – you may feel that you should get more done because you don’t have to commute or attend meetings, but remember that we’re in a highly unusual situation and it’s perfectly OK not to be at your most productive right now. Depending on how long your tasks are, having just two or three things to do per day should be enough for you to stay on top of things without getting overwhelmed.
5. Join a virtual coworking group
More and more people are finding creative ways to stay connected online, and virtual coworking groups are a great example of this. People are using platforms like Zoom to create online meet-ups where everybody works for a set amount of time and then comes together for a break and a chat. This can do wonders for your productivity – just knowing that other people are working at the same time as you can keep you accountable and help you to concentrate. Check out apps like Meetup to find a coworking group you can join, or set one up yourself!
6. Turn off notifications
Under current circumstances, you may find that you have fewer hours in the day for working, so it’s especially important to make sure you don’t get side-tracked by a text or an email. Give yourself half an hour in the morning to respond to emails and work messages, then silence your phone and turn off email notifications. In fact, this is a useful rule for any working day – rather than breaking your concentration whenever something new comes in, block out set times of the day to respond to message and you should find your overall focus will improve.
7. Go outside
No matter how busy you are, it’s a good idea to take breaks throughout the day, and when you’re working from home it’s especially important to go outside if you can. Go for a long lunchtime walk or cycle ride, take a stroll around the block or simply stretch your legs in the garden – the main thing is to get away from your desk and get some fresh air, so you don’t spend all day looking at the same four walls.
If you need extra support for your business during this tricky time, please give Get Ahead VA a call on 01483 332220 or email us at [email protected]. Our team of virtual assistants is happy to help with whatever business and marketing services you need. In the meantime, we hope you and your loved ones stay safe and well.