Do you find it difficult to stick to a schedule when you work from home? You know the perks of home-based jobs: no more commute, the autonomy of your time, eating home-cooked meals, and the ability to turn your camera off in a meeting. But when you need only walk to another room to work rather than commute, in some ways you are at a disadvantage.
You’ve probably experienced the drawback of having your personal possessions around you, and you likely get distracted. Without a boss or colleagues present to keep their eye on you, you might succumb to the lure of hobbies, household chores, or other activities as work accumulates. If you realize that you tend to get distracted, it can be challenging to focus. Since working from home can expose you to distractions, developing your self-discipline is an excellent growth opportunity. Otherwise, you risk underperforming at work.
Create a dedicated workspace
You need more than willpower to succeed when you work from home. An easy way to encourage focus is to keep a clean and organized work environment. You might have coped through the pandemic working from your bed or sofa but now it’s time to upgrade. Make working from home simple and create a dedicated workspace.
Choose a room or section of a room that’s not a busy part of your household, where you’re unlikely to face distractions. If you can’t have a room to yourself, carve out a quiet corner. Make your workstation inspiring and bright, so you look forward to sitting behind your desk each day. Keep clutter at bay and add a houseplant or another item that adds calm to your workspace.
It’s clear you’re busy working when there’s a partition between you and the rest of the house. Control your environment and you’ll feel professional and proficient. You’ll also endure fewer distractions, as other household members are out of sight and out of mind.
Develop a mindset to support success
You might imagine the freedom to work in your robe and slippers, rather than dressing to impress, is an enjoyable perk. Nonetheless, don’t underestimate the importance of semi-professional clothes to help create a productive mental state. When you stay in your pajamas all day, you are primed to relax. Wear workwear and you’ll adopt a professional mindset.
Plan your workday schedule, too. If you leave which tasks to complete and when to chance, you won’t always be productive and won’t properly prioritize tasks. So, set yourself up to succeed with an organized calendar. It can be tempting to work late at night when there is no clear line between your work life and your personal life but have the discipline to close your laptop when your work can wait until tomorrow.
Make sure your plan includes cultivating a healthy mental and physical state. Your well-being affects your work, so eat a nourishing breakfast, rather than snacking on junk food just because the kitchen is nearby. Get regular exercise, both to clear your mind and stay fit. Try to avoid non-work-related activities during the workday — your personal life can wait until 5 p.m. Your hobbies may call out to you as you work but ignore them. Focus on what you’re doing and working from home won’t be detrimental to your career.
Recognize that work-from-home perks don’t include the ability to do whatever you want whenever you want. The actual advantages are extra time, since you don’t travel to your job, and not working under the watchful gaze of anyone. Since your boss isn’t around, though, or you are the boss, it’s smart to steer yourself in the right direction, just like an employer would.
There are downsides to a busy shared office. Noise, gossip, and your colleagues’ movement can disturb you. Then again, when you work at home, you might miss cheerful banter and find yourself feeling lonely. Take care of your need for human connection and stay in touch with your coworkers. Make coffee-shop catch-up dates and socialize with friends and family after work. At the end of the day, wind down with a gentle stroll. It’s crucial to go outside in the fresh air and enjoy a change of scenery.
The bottom line
While working from home has certain challenges, there are simple steps you can take to make the process and your work product better. If you maintain a productive workspace, support a healthy mindset, and prevent isolation, you will succeed in your career while working from home. It is never too late to change your work-from-home habits. Improve your habits today to support your career now and in the future.
Discipline takes a little dedication every day. What do you do to foster success while working from home? Let us know in the comments below!