I’m grateful that I’ve worked from home for a long time. I imagine that, for many people, working from home for the first time is a difficult adjustment. How do you stay focused on work without going stir crazy?
Here are some things I’ve learned from working at home full time.
On my first day of self-employment, I felt rebellious! “I don’t have to get dressed if I don’t want to.”
The problem is that working only in pajamas impaired my clarity and productivity. Plus, the rising number of video calls throughout my day further complicated my clothing choices. I felt embarrassed and dirty for not getting dressed up. PJs are great for relaxing in, but they prohibit fully entering “work mode.” I found that if I dressed as if for the office and changed into PJs later, I could be so much more productive in my day. My clothing choices signal to my brain that, “OK, now this is work mode.” or, “This is relaxation mode.”
Take regular breaks
Alongside using my miracle morning technique to settle my mind in the right place for the day, I also prioritize taking regular breaks. If it is a beautiful day outside, I’ll work till lunchtime; by then my Tecfidera side effects kick in, so I push through to take my dog for a walk, then eat, then sleep.
Yes, that’s right: If you work at home you might have the opportunity to sleep at lunchtime!
Set phone alarms to make sure you have regular computer screen breaks, even if your break entails making a hot drink or making progress in laundry chores (productivity hack!).
It’s tempting to drink cup after cup of coffee to motivate yourself, but trust me, you will crash — and quickly! A small amount of coffee is OK.
Daytime hot drinks are fantastic because they make me drink more. I have to down them before they’re lukewarm! To cut down on caffeine, I’ve started drinking things like peppermint tea and even warm water with squash. I try not to have hot chocolate either because chocolate contains caffeine and a heck of a lot of sugar! I’m not a fan of herbal teas. I wish I was, but I can’t seem to like them. What hot drinks do you enjoy?
Set working hours
Start your day with the intention to work within certain hours. That defines your day and helps your family to know when they should leave you alone.
It also signals your mind to be in “work mode” or to stop thinking about work.
Additionally, setting up a room to be your “place of work” will help, too. My partner and I both work from home so finding our own “office space” is crucial. It is essential that you not use your bedroom as an office, as that can confuse your mind into wanting to sleep while working and thinking about working while you’re trying to sleep.
It is so easy to get distracted when working from home. When I first became self-employed, I’d make cookies and visit people I wouldn’t usually get to visit (not that we can do that right now!) and get distracted by social media at all points of the day — just because I could.
To counteract this, make sure to put your phone on silent and use apps that block social media such as the Freedom app — unless you need social media for work! Also, try out binaural beats on YouTube or Spotify. I love binaural beats because they block out all my distracting thoughts and help me focus on one task at a time.
What is your main intention for today? How will you reach that intention?
Setting goals in your day ensures productivity. Start by setting your overall goal for the day, then split it down into tiny tasks. Schedule those tasks on a calendar. By the end of the day, you should have completed the goal. Achieving a goal is such a good feeling.
This “working from home game” does take dedication and discipline. It is a different routine requiring a different mindset.
Are you working from home for the first time? What has your experience been? Let me know in the comments.
Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.
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