Working from home is both a blessing and…a challenge at times.
There's less structure, more distraction, and the change of environment often comes with spouses, children, and/or pets all grappling for your attention.
It might sound like a recipe for disaster, but it doesn't have to be. With a few tools and some planning beforehand, you can make sure to set yourself up for success no matter where you're working from.
Use Time Cubes
Never underestimate the value of a timer.
It's like a cheat-code for productivity. Something in our brains really responds to the idea of a deadline or ticking clock that WILL eventually run out. Any timer will work, but these timer cubes are extra fun (and functional!).
If you have a lot of tasks to do and need some accountability, pull out your time cubes and get working.
Have a designated work area & outfit.
This trick is as old as time, but that's because it works!
Try not to just do your work from anywhere. Have a space that is specifically for work, and avoid your bedroom if possible. If you work too much in a space that is meant to be restful, it'll come back to bite you when it's time to unwind.
As hard as it is, act as if you're going “into the office”. Get dressed in your work uniform, grab your coffee, and proceed as if it's business as usual. Remember, all these external actions are here to help get your mind in the right headspace.
Set the mood with music.
If you're someone that loves the hustle and bustle of the office or likes to work in coffee shops, there are legitimately thousands of video and audio tools on Spotify, Apple Music, or Youtube for free that will last for hours unattended.
If you don't like ambience but you do appreciate some work-friendly music, there are lots of “focus playlists” out there that help keep you in a productive mood without distracting you. Someone out there could explain the science behind that, but all I know is it WORKS.
Know where you stumble.
If you know that every time you work from home you end up falling into some sort of bad habit, set some preventative measures BEFOREHAND.
For example, I often need to be on social media for work. Since I like to stay off social media most of the time in my personal life, I don't want my work time to mess up that groove.
I don't have social media apps on my phone, but instead log onto them in my browser on my laptop. Why? Because the functionality is not nearly as good. You can still do what you gotta do, but Instagram is not nearly as scrollable on a computer desktop view with limited features.
Figure out where you tend to need some “quality control”, and set up whatever system works for you. In this way, you'll be anticipating any snags rather than running into them unprepared.