SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – It’s easy to get distracted by things around you when you’re at home.
You may start working only to see the clothes that need washing out of the corner of your eye. You might begin a task but stop in your tracks when the dog starts begging for attention.
Here is some advice to help you stay on track while working from home.
Make a designated space for work
If you can, try to set up a space that is just for you. Even if it means hiding away in a room that is normally used for dining or exercise, this will give you the chance to focus on your work without those other distractions.
Katie Holdefehr from the website “Real Simple” has some great tips to help set up a space. You can view her article here to see more on how you can set up your own “office” in what space you have at home.
No matter what you choose to do, make sure you aren’t working from your bed if you have another space available. Harvard Medical School advises the bedroom be kept as a sleep-inducing environment free from the stresses of daily life. They recommend trying to keep work materials out of the bedroom to help strengthen the mental association between the room and sleep.
Make a plan for how your day should go
Having structure is important for staying on task. Each day, set aside a few minutes to make a list of what you need to do and when you need to do it. Then, plan out what time you’re going to eat and take breaks. Finally, stick to it.
Youtuber Amy Landino has a video — that can be viewed here — that does a great job of explaining how to use the “calendar blocking” method to plan your days.
She also uses the Eisenhower Matrix (originated by Dwight D. Eisenhower) to figure out the importance of each task. This decision-making tool may be helpful as a start in order to figure out what you need to do and how to get it done. The matrix is well explained in the video but if you’re still struggling that’s OK. The link here can explain it further.
Try out the Pomodoro Technique
Developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s, this method utilizes a timer in order to help you keep focused and stay productive. Many students use this method in order to better absorb information when studying.
The original technique has six steps. You decide on a task that needs to be done and set a timer, usually, for 25 minutes. Then, you work on that task until the timer goes off. After that, you take a short break which usually lasts less than 10 minutes.
You repeat these steps up to three times before you take a long break that is typically around 30 minutes.
The Pomodoro technique can be modified for those who want to work longer or shorter periods of time. For more information on how to apply this technique, you can check out a helpful article linked here.
Don’t stay in your pajamas the whole day
While it may seem like a good idea to skip the hassle of getting fully dressed, experts say that getting into the habit of working in your PJs may not be the benefit you think it is.
Research published in 2020 by the Medical Journal of Australia found that while wearing pajamas and working from home was not associated with being less productive, it was associated with poorer mental health reports from participants.
Though this is just one study, it points to the idea that dressing up — be it putting on some jeans and a t-shirt or donning work attire — is a good idea for keeping your mental health on track as you navigate working during a pandemic.