As the world works to contain the COVID-19 epidemic, a number of us are stuck at home and now telecommute. Working from home can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, skipping a commute and getting to work in your pajamas is great. On the other hand, your house is filled with distractions and it can be hard to stay focused.
The way you design your home office can help you stay distraction and stress-free so as to get your best work done at the comfort of your home, sweet home. Here are a few ways to make sure you’re able to stay on your grind.
While spending long hours on the computer can’t be avoided, you can use light to help you focus when working from home.
Whenever possible, bring in natural light. It reduces eye fatigue and helps you stay energized. If your office lacks natural light (basement workers, unite!), you can reduce eye strain by skipping harsh, blue fluorescent lighting. Bring in warm white light with a lamp and use it to shine a spotlight on your workstation.
When you’re done, you can switch the light off on your desk — and your mind — to signify that the workday is done.
Declutter the space
I know that I have a clearer head when my desk is decluttered and organized. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but creating organization spaces to get papers, mail and other stuff off of your desk can help you stay laser-focused.
While cabinets are your best bet, you can definitely use trays and file boxes to keep things tidy. Or invest in a wall-hanging file basket to get things off of your desk. When you sit down to work, keep only what you’re working on in front of you and stash the rest.
You also happen to work better if the rest of the house is tidy. Even if you have a separate home office, it’s hard to concentrate if you know the rest of the house needs some work. Having those small, brain-cluttering tasks out of the way gives me more bandwidth to focus on work.
Related: 5 Ways to Optimize your Workspace for Creativity and Productivity
Not everyone is lucky enough to have a separate home office with a door. Still, you need to create some delineation between your home and your home office. Without creating a clear workspace, it’s tempting to work longer hours or let projects seep into your personal life.
You need a way to physically stop your workday and close the door between your professional and personal lives. Without it, you risk major work-at-home burnout.
No standalone office? No problem! Use bookcases or screens to give your workspace a defined look. You can also create an “office” using area rugs or even a different paint color on the wall.
Even a pair of noise-canceling headphones can help put definition between work and your regular distractions. Do whatever it takes to create a separation between your work and personal life at home.
You might think that working from bed is the ultimate in comfort, but anyone who works from home can tell you that it gets old.
Having a comfortable, ergonomic space to work is the key to staying focused. Make sure your computer, desk, and chair are adjusted for comfort. Your feet should be flat on the floor, your elbows should be at a 90-degree angle and the top of your monitor should be at or just below eye level.
Comfort helps increase focus since you’re not being distracted by a sore neck or strained eyes.
Keep must-haves on hand
If you notice that you’re getting distracted when you have to get up, see what you can keep on hand.
Stock your home office with coffee, quick snacks and whatever tech you need to be comfortable. Hey, if you were working in a regular office, you wouldn’t be leaving every time you got the munchies or needed a quick hit of caffeine. Treat your home office similarly and you can keep distractions to a minimum.
Working from home can be a blessing and a curse. While it’s great to get to set up your ideal situation, it’s all too easy to lose focus. By creating a home office that is comfortable, peaceful and stocked with your faves, you can work remotely without all of the distractions.