With the rise of COVID-19, working from home has (to an extent) become the new normal for many workers. And for creative types likes writers, artists, photographers, etc. working from home is the norm.
It sounds glorious at first, the idea of working from the comfort of your home.
But therein lies the problem.
Our homes are (hopefully) filled with comforts.
Even if they are not, “home” is where we go to relax, decompress, and rest before the next day.
In opposition, our work environments are rigid, stuffy, and lacking distractions, locations designed to inspire productivity, not mitigate stressors.
We go to work, and our minds are subconsciously predisposed to focus on given tasks.
So when circumstances suddenly pluck us from our work-space, and the expectation is thrust upon us to be equally effective in an environment designed for relaxation, it is easy to get distracted.
But never fear!
There is a simple way to keep ourselves productive and efficient: alter our environment.
Just a smidge.
I’m not suggesting that you do a complete overhaul of your home.
You can create a better work atmosphere in your home with a few easy steps.
Step 1: Set Aside a Work Space
Like I mentioned at the beginning of this article, our atmosphere heavily influences the fluctuation of our minds.
So if you are new to the work-from-home atmosphere or you are trying to enhance the home office that you already have, it is imperative to select a specific space in which to work.
Now, not all of us are fortunate enough to have a spare, empty room for this purpose. (I certainly wasn’t when I started working from home!)
So most of us will have to do a bit of rearranging to create a spot to set a desk.
Remember: You will want to find a place with few distractions.
So, placing your desk in a room with a television set is not advisable.
But if that cannot be helped, you’ll want to make sure that your desk is not facing the screen.
Don’t allow yourself to fall victim to the temptation of turning on the television for background noise (I was there. You will end up watching the t.v. more often than not. So just don’t put yourself in that situation).
Step 2: Make Sure you Have a Comfortable Chair
I know, I know, I was just blathering on about how the prime problem with working from home is comfort.
At the same time, you don’t want to sit in an uncomfortable chair for extended periods of time (that will only drastic you and increase your desire to get up and do something of more interest).
Step 3: Work Regular Hours
Consistency is key.
Start working at the same time every day.
You”ll notice that you are more prepared to be productive.
In the same token, you’ll want to stop working at the same time every day too.
Shut off your work brain and allow yourself to relax.
Otherwise, you’ll run into the problem of being unable to decompress in your home.
Step 4: Stay in Contact with Liked-Minded People
If you have co-workers, staying in contact with them will help bring that work atmosphere to your home office.
This will also keep your mind focused on work-related topics.
If you are a writer, keep in contact with other writers, especially those whose productivity, writing-style and process you admire.
Find out what they do and experiment a little with your process.
This step can be a bit of hassle because there is a lag-time component that you do not come across with face-to-face conversations.
To keep myself motivated and focused during those moments of radio silence, I surround my work space with motivational quotes. They give me a little boost and remind me of my objectives, which brings me to the last step.
Step 5: Write a To-Do List
Writing a “to-do” list is a great way to focus and organize your day.
Doing this right before you start working will lay the foundation for a productive day.
I always start my day by writing a list of things that need to be done or things that I need to check up on.
This way, I start off with a clear idea of my objectives and can prioritize my day.
I can also guilt trip myself into getting more work done on those days when I feel myself slacking.