There can be many perks to working in an office environment- among them, I would say that the 9am-6pm schedule and the camaraderie I had with my former coworkers were what made me enjoy an office environment the most. I tend to thrive off a specific routine, as many people do, so I absolutely loved having a reliable schedule. Beyond the routine/schedule, it was such a joy to work with people similar in age who had similar backgrounds and/or interests. I definitely miss that!
Though there are some things I miss about working in an office, I have had quite a bit of fun working from home and developing my business. I’m still learning how to maximize my time and stay on track but I’ve found that there are a handful of things that have been helpful with this.
5 Things….to Help You Stay Focused When Working from Home
1. Get dressed!
I remember “spirit week” back in junior high and high school, which included the legendary “Pajama Day”. Among the five days of spirit week, “Pajama Day” was by far the favorite- after all, who wouldn’t enjoy staying in their pajamas all day? Well…staying in my pajamas all day has been awfully tempting! I’ve found that the single action of getting out of bed and getting dressed like I’m going to the office has set the productivity tone for the rest of the day, though- it’s an absolute must, in my opinion!
2. Establish a routine that works for you
Don’t judge or roll your eyes- but I am a total morning person. As in, I usually wake up between 5:30am and 6:30am and after making my morning cup of coffee I am good to go! With that said, I know that by 4pm my productivity levels have decreased significantly (cue the Nespresso machine to start brewing another cup!!). Since I’m naturally a morning person, now that I’m able to set my own schedule I know that it’s best for me to work from approximately 8am-4pm.
3. Remember to take breaks
This is a big one, and it’s one thing that is not to be messed with. After speaking with many of my friends about their jobs I’ve learned that many of them do not actually take lunch breaks. There are some days that are just so busy- I get that and I’ve definitely eaten lunch at my desk before or just had a snack to hold me over until 6pm- but one of the luxuries of working from home is that you can set up your own break times. Small breaks, beyond an actual lunch break, can be a major factor in improving productivity- for example, I know that around 11am and 2pm I often begin to stir at my desk. Rather than letting my productivity wane at those hours, I’ve set up a quick 5-15 minute break at 11 and 2 so that I can grab a healthy snack, make a cup of coffee, or take a quick walk outside. These small breaks in the day enable me to keep a steady level of productivity throughout the day.
4. Determine specific times to “check in” and check e-mails, social media, etc.
Oh goodness- this is something that I’ve definitely had to work on quite a bit! It’s just so easy to get distracted when working from home by checking my phone for texts or by reading the latest Tweets. I’ve found that even if I just meant to check my phone for a quick moment, I will soon find myself on Pinterest or on J.Crew’s sale site (so guilty of this!) and before I know it, an hour will be wasted. With this in mind, I set certain times to check my phone, my e-mails, etc. during the day so that I can stay on track and not let distractions get the best of the hours that I’m most productive during the day.
5. Be social!
It’s one of the things I miss most about working in a typical office environment- it’s fun to work with other people and share ideas, plan after-hours get-togethers, etc. I’ve definitely found that since I’m now working from home I’ve missed the amount of human interaction I used to have so I’ve made it a point to get out and work from cafes when possible, or to break up my day by meeting with friends.
Bonus tip: Keep a running to-do list
I think this pretty much speaks for itself- it helps to visualize exactly what your priorities are, so that you can plan your day accordingly and stay on track.