Being a remote worker certainly has its perks. You can work from anywhere if you want to, have flexible hours, and don't have to worry about fighting traffic or the monotony of being in an office environment from 9 to 5. However, it can also be hard to focus on the task at hand when you know your boss isn’t around the corner to keep you in check. Therefore, in order to succeed as a remote worker specifically in the IT community, developing healthy boundaries and good habits is key.
Here are 5 tips to staying focused when working from home:
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Set up the right work space. Sharing your home with your work can be harder than it looks. On any given day, there might be dishes piled high in the sink, clothes tousled about, and a couch that is calling your name. Setting aside a separate space in your home that is designed just for work can be crucial to maintaining your focus. Doing so will allow your work to stay at work and not bleed into your personal life. Additionally, being in the same room of your house everyday will help keep you on task more than if you're always hopping from one room to the next. While your "office" doesn't necessarily have to be traditional, it should be clean and free of clutter as well as other distractions. Set yourself up for success by creating a space you want to work in; one with natural lighting, minimal noise, and fun decor.
Dress for the part. Your appearance can have just as much of an effect on your work ethic as your environment does. While lounging around in your pajamas or sweat pants may seem tempting, putting effort into how you look can help motivate you and get you in the right frame of mind to work all day. If you look and feel your best, you won’t be tempted to put off that video call or meet with clients. Good intentions make for success, and you’ll find a boost in your productivity, confidence, and overall mood if you put just a little bit of effort into how you look.
Time block. Working from home mean's you get to pretend you're the boss. The only downside? Figuring out how to manage your own time. Don't get overwhelmed by trying to do everything at once. If you know your objectives, you can break up the day in an organized and productive way. Commit yourself to one task at a time, set a timer, and when it goes off move on to the next one. Blocking out your schedule within specific time frames can help keep you accountable as well as teach you how to estimate how long any given project will take to complete.
Regulate technology use. While no one can see you checking social media, emails, or your phone from home, doing so too often can be a slippery slope and lead you to fall behind in meeting your goals. When you’re ready to sit down and work for a period of time, make sure your electronic devices are working for you instead of getting in the way. Block social media on your computer and try placing your handheld devices face down or in a drawer so you don't get distracted with never ending notifications. If you must check your messages or Facebook feed, do so consciously by giving yourself an allotment of breaks throughout the day. This way you have something to look forward to and don't merely let the day get away.
Communicate. As a parent, pet owner, or roommate, setting clear boundaries with those around you is essential in being able to focus on your work when at home. Avoid the constant interruptions, or requests for attention by planning ahead for pet and child care. As for friends and family members, let them know your office hours so they can be as respectful with your time as they would if you worked in an office building.
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