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If you’re attempting to work from home, a conundrum has likely presented itself: how can you get anything done in a distracting environment amid unsettled times?

Working from home is awesome … right up until the cat throws up on your computer. And your neighbour, who you can only assume is building a time machine, starts firing up all sorts of power tools and noisy machinery across the street.

We’ve put together 5 ways that have helped us make the best of working from home productively, during these uncertain times.

1. Reduce noise levels

Do you find yourself being interrupted or distracted by others in your home? If its far too often for your liking, say something. Alternatively, a good tactic is to plug in your headphones to give a visual cue that you’re trying to focus and block out noise distractions. Listening to music is also proven to help people manage anxiety, become motivated, and stay productive, and instrumental music has been shown to improve concentration.

2. Dodge disturbance

Working from home can give you much more flexible hours, but if you’re constantly interrupted it’s going to be a lot harder to get things done. Try to make sure you get a few large blocks of time. For example, if you need to complete 8 hours of work, start working to your normal working hours, or by breaking your day into three blocks of 3 hours, 2 hours, and another 3 hours. If you need to run errands or take care of other things, do them outside of the blocks of time, during your “breaks.”

3. Disable social media

If the bulk of your work is done on a computer, you probably know all too well the distractions of the internet. Its easy to fall into the trap of checking Facebook or other sites if you keep them open on one of your browser tabs. Allow yourself to check in at specific times, before you start your work and on breaks only. When its work time, close any non-work related tabs and websites. If you keep them open, you will undoubtedly keep flipping back to see if anything new has been posted. Perhaps its also time to consider your app and social media notification settings. If you find yourself being distracted by Whatsapp, Facebook and LinkedIn notifications that aren’t adding value to your day, try disabling them for a few days!

4. Make yourself an office or at least a work area

This will be the spot where you do your work. If you don’t have a room that you can turn into a home office, you can set up shop at the kitchen or dinner table, although this is not ideal. Taking your laptop and plopping down on the couch in front of the television will definitely present many temptations. Invest in a good desk, chair, and computer so you’ll be comfortable working, but not so comfortable that you’ll be tempted to slack-off!

5. Look after yourself!

Make sure you eat a good breakfast so you don’t have to stop working when the hunger pangs kick in, and schedule yourself a reasonable lunch break. Some people also find it helpful to dress as if they were going to work. It’s not necessary to put on a suit, but something more than sweatpants and a t-shirt might help you feel more on-task.

Working from home can be a discipline, trust us, we know! As a company who have had to recently transitioned from working in the office to working from home due to the coronavirus, we know how tricky it can be. The key is to keep a good work-life balance, establish boundaries, work as if you were in the office as usual, and most importantly take care of yourself.

Doug Norman

Author Doug Norman

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