Because of the pandemic, many more people are working from home. This arrangement presents its own unique kinds of challenges. One of the biggest challenges is dealing with the ongoing interruptions and distractions that can occur, especially if you have small children.
This in turn can have a big impact on productivity. Here are some things you can do to prevent these interruptions and get more done.
1. Have a dedicated work space.
Set aside a room or a portion of a room in your house that will be your home office, to be used exclusively for work. Ideally, it should be a quiet location, away from children’s play areas, for example.
2. Stick to a schedule
Set up a work routine and stick to it. Try to maintain the same routine as you would if you were going into work each day. Don’t get caught up in household chores, distracted by surfing the web or raiding the refrigerator. Save these activities for after work.
It may also help to use timers to give a sense of structure to your work day. Set the timer for a certain length of time that you want to work before taking a break. You can also set the timer for the length of your break, so one intended to last only several minutes doesn’t stretch into a half hour.
3. Dress appropriately
It may not be necessary to dress quite as formally as you would if going into work, but avoid staying in your pajamas. It may also be a good idea to avoid sweatpants and t-shirts for work. Changing into something akin to business attire helps to set the tone for your workday. It is a signal that you are now engaged in working, it serves to bracket work time from personal time. At the end of your work day, you can then change back into more casual attire.
4. Set boundaries with family
Let other family members know when you will be working and don’t want to be disturbed unless absolutely necessary. Visual aids work well for smaller children – you can put a card with one color on your door which signifies work time, and another color card for when you are available.
5. Plan meals
Planning and preparing meals can also end up interfering with your work if you are not careful. It takes time to decide what you want to eat and then make it. And you may be doing this not only for yourself, but for family members as well. To avoid this problem, you can plan and cook some or all of your meals and snacks in advance.
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