As Covid-19 has swept over the world and working from home is the new reality for a great deal of people, making the adjustment to a home office can be a great challenge to those accustomed to a normal office environment. Whether you have a busy family, needy pets, a lot of outside noise, or you just have a plain hard time focusing with the temptations of home around you, we’re here to try and share some strategies to minimize these sorts of distractions. Everyone deserves a comfortable environment to work in, and who knows, maybe you’ll come to find that you prefer a home-work environment to your traditional office!
Creating A Dedicated Space
Working in a comfortable environment is far and away the most important part of successfully transitioning to a work-from-home lifestyle. Ensure that your space suits you, you have a comfortable chair, and a desk that suits your needs and has enough space for all of your equipment. If you’re not comfortable in the space that you’re in, you’re far more likely to get up and go do something else! Even if your space is simply a lap desk in your bed, make sure that it’s uniquely suited to fit your needs, as you’re likely going to be spending a lot of time there!
No More Screens Than Necessary
When working from home, it can be very tempting to put on your favorite TV show “in the background”, but you may find yourself paying more attention to your show than actually getting any work done! Your smartphone can be the biggest distraction, as the endless amount of content on social media and other apps can break your focus entirely and bring productivity to a halt. To avoid these sorts of distractions, it’s best to place your desk in a space where you have no other screens in your field of vision.
Fewer screens can have other health benefits, particularly if you’re prone to headaches from long exposure! If your job allows it, try and leave your phone in another room when you’re working, or at the very least keep it in your pocket rather than sitting upright on your desk. Having a window to look out of can be very beneficial for a variety of reasons, just don’t get distracted by everything going on outdoors!
Nothing is more distracting than screaming kids or a barking dog! There are a variety of ways to tackle these issues, but it all depends on the environment that you’re in. If you’re fortunate enough to live in a house with a lot of space, it would be wise to position your office in a part of the house that’s farthest away from the living room or play areas. Establishing rules along the lines of “don’t knock or enter unless it’s absolutely necessary” could help you to maintain peace and quiet in your workspace without the fear of frequent interruptions.
If you’re located in a much smaller space like a tiny apartment in a big city, the best strategy for eliminating distracting noise is investing in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. Going about your workday without a clue as to what’s going on outside can be a bit jarring at first, but you may find that it’s much easier to get in the zone when it’s just you and your music (or silence, whatever you’re into!)
Keep A To-Do List
Staying on task while working at home can be difficult for a myriad of reasons, but keeping a to-do list somewhere that’s easily accessible could make all the difference. Whether it’s simply a note on your computer desktop or something much more involved like a calendar or white board that you install in your office space, having a reminder of what must be done can be instrumental in staying on task, particularly if you’re not traditionally the most focused person. Going the whiteboard route allows you to personalize your space even more, as you’re free to customize everything any way you’d like!
Establish Your Space As Work-Only
Utilizing your home office for work and work alone can help you get into the right mindset when it comes time to focus. We mentioned removing distracting screens before, but things like mobile video game consoles or even exercise equipment could serve to further distract you from what must be done. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should make your space devoid of any personality or charm, as plants, knick-knacks, and other decorative flourishes can help to make the space even more comfortable, but it’s best to avoid any other non-work distractions if possible! Kids can be one of the biggest distractions, but if proper guidelines are established you should be able to utilize your home office in peace and quiet.
Lighting and Color
Another big factor in creating a comfortable and distraction-free environment is considering the different lighting methods available to you. If your office reminds you of a dungeon or jail-cell, there’s a pretty good chance that the last thing you’ll want to do is spend 8 hours in that room working. Utilizing warm, natural lighting and brighter colors and tones on walls can completely change up the vibe of a space. If you have windows, go ahead and throw your blinds open! If your space is dark and there are no windows available, investing in lighting fixtures or even blue-light glasses can help reduce headaches and make your overall working experience more enjoyable.
These are just a few suggestions to make your home office a distraction-free zone, but we encourage you to get creative! You may be someone who thrives in the bustling environment of a busy coffee shop, so perhaps having distractions actually helps you focus rather than hurts! Everybody has their own preferences for how they like to work, and it’s worth making an investment in your home office to ensure that you remain a successful and productive worker, even when your traditional office space isn’t readily available.