With coronavirus restrictions now in place, that are being dubbed Lockdown 2.0, many of you will be back to working from home once again.
That could mean endless Zoom calls with colleagues, frequent trips to the fridge and, also, plenty of other distractions that can affect your productivity.
Of course, the most fool-proof way to avoid the distractions of working from home is to be in the office, but as so many of you can’t do that right now, here are nine things you can do to make sure you remain productive during the latest Covid-19 lockdown…
1 Play some music
Yes, we know music could technically be described as a ‘distraction’.
But when the research suggests otherwise, who are we to argue?
A study by Mindlab revealed listening to music can vastly improve productivity.
So much so that 81% of those studied worked faster when listening to music and 88% produced more accurate work with some tunes playing in the background.
But what genre of music should you be listening to? Well, the research also showed:
- Pop music is best for working accurately and quickly
- Classical music helps you to solve maths or numerical problems
- Ambient music improves data-entry
- Dance music can help with proof-reading
2 Take regular, short breaks
Even if you’re one of those people who can grind away at a specific project for hours on end while working from the office, doing the same thing from home can be a whole new challenge.
Try to take regular short breaks to stop yourself from burning out – but set a time limit for these breaks so they’re not in danger of becoming days off.
A great technique for breaking up your day into smaller segments of work and rest is the Pomodoro Technique – take a look at see if it works for you.
3 Use a calendar or productivity app
Even in the office, writing a to-do list is a vital technique to ensuring you stay firmly on track with work and deadlines.
But the office doesn’t have the same levels of distraction as home working – meaning a calendar blocked off with certain tasks, or a productivity app, are key weapons in your armoury against procrastination.
Great time management and productivity apps include:
- IFTT – If This Happens Then That makes it easy to organise your working day
- Trello – Trello uses a card system so you can see, drag and drop from one part of a project’s process to another
- Slack – Slack is a great tool to integrate organised communication with other people you work with. As well as a chat system, you can securely send files to each other, too
4 Prep yourself for work
Now, be honest. How many times during the first Covid-19 lockdown did you sit and work in your pyjamas all day?
If so, you could be putting yourself in totally the wrong mindset for a full day of productive work.
Essentially, the best way to get in the right frame of mind for work is to do what you would normally do if you were heading into the office.
So, that means:
- Getting up at the same time each morning
- Getting dressed
- Eating breakfast
- Starting work at the same time you would start if in the office and finishing at the same time, too
5 Create an office space
Okay, so you can’t be at your desk in your office right now.
So, if you haven’t done so already, try to create an inspiring office space at home so you at least feel like you’re at work, even when you’re not.
Your sofa is really comfortable, we get that. But it’s not the place to set up your laptop and try to work – not least because sofas and televisions, the ultimate distraction, go together really well…
6 Eliminate possible distractions
If you know what is likely to distract you, you can eliminate it before you start work.
We’re real clean freaks here at Bourne Space, so we know full well there’s no way we’d be able to work from home with all those dirty plates stacked up, waiting to go in the dishwasher.
Try not to leave things ‘undone’ from the previous day, or you’re more likely to be distracted by the need to do them once you’re next working day starts.
7 Limit your mobile phone usage
Televisions can be a major distraction when working from home.
But mobile phones are arguably even worse.
Of course, you need to stay connected during the working day, so we’re not advocating that you switch off your phone – or put it in the shed, wrapped in a 12-inch layer of clingfilm and duct tape while you’re working.
But a quick five-minute scroll on Facebook or Instagram can quickly become a 30-minute obsession.
If you can turn off your phone, obviously this is a great way to shut away the distraction, but even turning it face down or switching off notifications can help.
8 Make a dedicated work browser
Of course, limiting your phone use only goes some way to avoiding social media when you should be working.
A quick login to Twitter on your web browser can be equally as distracting.
If you work on a computer, it’s extremely difficult to stop yourself spending a little time on social media, but one way you can give yourself a better chance of keeping focus is to keep one of your web browsers for work only.
Save all of your personal bookmarks on to one browser, for instance Internet Explorer, and keep your other browser, perhaps Google Chrome, clear of all personal saved pages and history.
Perhaps having to type in an entire URL will save you from yourself…
9 Eat in the kitchen
We all eat at our desk in the office from time to time – sometimes, it just can’t be helped if you’re on a deadline.
At home, try to add even more separation to your working environment by eating lunch in your dining room or kitchen.
If the weather is nice, eating in the garden can be even better…
Check out our serviced offices – the ultimate distraction-proof workplace
While you might be working at home for now, the current restrictions won’t last forever.
And once they’re lifted, it could be the perfect time to look at the potential for a new office space.
Take a look at our serviced offices and meeting spaces in the heart of Bournemouth and, if you’d like to take a look, we’d love to show you around – while also keeping everyone safe by following the guidance on social distancing.