Whether you work a few days a week from your kitchen table or run a business out of your decked-out home office, are a seasoned work from home pro or navigating your companies recent switch to remote work, chances are you’ve struggled at some point to remain focused on the job at hand when there’s a multitude of distractions, temptations and to-do’s around your home. Not to worry though – we’ve compiled a list of 10 tips and tricks to stay focused and be super productive in your home office.
Get Your Playlist Ready
There’s so many playlists out there from lo-fi beats to coffee shop background noise or whatever helps you get in the work-flow groove. It’s commonly believed that listening to music while you work helps give you a boost in productivity, creativity and memory retention.
Find a Low Traffic Area
In a perfect world everyone would have a home office with sound proof doors so you can shut yourself away from distractions and noises around the house, but if you don’t have a designated room for working try finding the quietest, most distraction free place in your home to work from.
Choose a Comfortable Chair
Nothing can ruin a good home office setup like a bad chair. The most common complaints about office chairs is that they don’t provide enough back support or they aren’t comfortable to sit in. Quality office chairs can run in the hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars. If that’s not in your budget you can always find ergonomic cushions and back supports to add to your chair.
Think In Tomatoes
If you’ve never heard of this productivity tactic that’s okay, we just heard of it ourselves. This technique asks you to alternate focused work sessions with short breaks, 25 minutes of work followed by a 5 minute break. After 4 ‘pomodoros’ take a longer 15-20 minute break. Keep a timer and a to-do list handy on your desk, write down a task or multiple tasks to get done during the day and get to your first pomodoro (the Italian word for tomato).
Keep Distractions On Hand
When it’s time to take a break from work it helps many folks to get away from their computers, phones and tablets and enjoy a designated break from work and allow your eyes to take a rest from looking at screens. Doing something just for fun in between work tasks can help you wipe your mental RAM and come back refreshed and ready to focus. Keep a crossword, search-a-word or Sudoku puzzle book on a comfy corner chair, pick up your current book and read a chapter or two, or work on a puzzle throughout the week.
Keep a Pen and Paper Close By
Some people think up their most brilliant ideas in the shower, in the car or, sometimes, in their home office. This one is quite an obvious tip but keeping a pad and pen handy and quickly accessible is a great way to boost overall productivity. If you come up with a great idea, suggestion or talking point for your next meeting or a project you’ve been working on, it greatly helps to be able to write down that thought immediately before it wonders out of your brain and you have to spend the next five minutes trying to remember your brilliant thought!
We’ve talked so many times on this blog and our Instagram account about the benefits of having plants in your home. Having plants in your office can help increase productivity and replenish focus. People tend to spend more time in spaces with natural and organic elements, and workplace happiness has been shown to improve when plants are introduced. If you have a pretty view from your office you can get similar benefits simply by opening the curtains.
Lighting Is Crucial
Depending on what area of work you do and your personal preferences you may require a variety of lighting options for optimum focus and productivity. Having overhead, natural and task lighting will ensure that you have plenty of light for the many things you work on throughout the day. Natural lighting is the best possible option for the most productivity but can also cause an aggravating glare on your screen. Arranging your workspace in a way that gets the most natural light without a glare will be the best fit for most people.
Declutter Well and Often
Things have a habit of collecting in home offices, especially if you have kids. Johnny’s aggressively loud T-Rex toy, Susie’s favorite lifelike babydoll that cries and giggles all day, the basket of half folded laundry outside your office door, and that mounting stack of paperwork you have yet to properly file can make it impossible to focus on anything else. Make it a daily, weekly and/or monthly habit to purge your office of anything that doesn’t belong or inspire creativity and focus.
Save the Lounge Pants for Later
During the pandemic we all collectively decided to convert our lounge wear into office wear and our productivity has taken a hit for it. It’s hard to resist waking up five minutes before your alarm, strolling sleepily into your office and turning on your computer, but it really is better for you and your productivity to get up and get dressed like you would if you were going into an office. There’s something about dressing professional that makes you feel inspired to tackle your work day and make you feel like the professional boss babe that you are.