Your Guide to Creating a Distraction-Free Home Office Environment
Working from home is here to stay, and if you’re one of the millions of people who sometimes work from home, you need a home office setup that’s designed for maximum productivity.
It’s not always easy to stay focused at home, but here are some home office hacks to help you stay on track:
1. Clean up before work begins
This first tip is simple, but it’s a reminder we could all use every once in a while: Nothing is more distracting than a messy work environment.
If you need some inspiration to keep your workspace tidy, check out this blog: 6 Office Hacks to Keep Your Workspace Clutter Free.
2. Turn off the TV (or YouTube) and turn up the music
If you need a bit of noise to focus, it can be tempting to turn on the TV or have your favorite YouTube channel playing in the background.
This can lead to unintended distractions, so try some music instead. Search for playlists with “focus” in the title, or stick to a genre that you know puts you in the productivity zone.
3. Keep errands to a minimum
The ability to take care of life stuff during work hours is one of the biggest perks of a flexible at-home work schedule, but don’t take it too far.
It’s important to have boundaries around your working hours. This is also true if family and friends frequently try to enlist your help for their own errands. You may need to remind people that office hours apply to the home office, too.
4. If you have kids, work around their schedules
Many parents who work from home get tasks done around their kids’ schedules: Get up early and get some work done before the kids get up or while they’re getting ready for school. Do as much work while the kids are at school and after they go to bed. Take a break for a few hours when they come home from school.
Even if you don’t have kids, this is still a good principle to test out.
5. Work in sprints
One great way to get more done without burning out is to work in sprints.
You could work for 25 minutes and take a 5 minute break, for example. Or, try a longer sprint like 45 or 60 minutes followed by a break.
Our brains need breaks, so don’t think of this as slacking off. If anything, breaks will increase your productivity.
6. Invest in a whiteboard or similar setup
Whiteboards are all over traditional offices, but they’re actually quite useful in home offices as well.
Write down all the tasks for the day on the whiteboard, starting with the most difficult, time-consuming task first. Cross off tasks as they’re completed. It’s that easy.
Whiteboards can also be used for brainstorming or writing down creative ideas for new projects or business ventures.
7. Let the light in
Natural light has been known to boost mood. It also reduces glare from computer screens, reducing eye strain and improving productivity.
So, if you can get some natural light into your home office, be sure to let the light in. If you don’t have any windows, artificial light is a good second choice.
8. Focus on office ergonomics
It’s easy to neglect ergonomics when you’re working from home, but it’s still a good idea to invest in comfortable furniture and other tools that encourage productivity. Even if all you do is buy a bluetooth keyboard and set your laptop on a pile of books to bring it up to eye-level, your body will thank you.
If you work for a company, you may even be able to get a home office allowance from your employer.
9. Switch up your work environment
Sometimes, you just need a break from your normal office environment.
If you think a change of scenery will provide a productivity boost, this post on Where to Work When You Need a Break From the Home Office has four creative alternatives you can try.