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Working hacks to make your home office life easy

Alix M Campbell

Contributor

Working from home has many advantages. You don’t have to sit in an overcrowded train, bus, or subway to commute to work and you can work in your pyjamas whenever you feel like it. Unfortunately, with a less straightforward set of work rules, it’s not easy to keep productivity up and the level of distractions down. Here are some tips to make your home office life easier.

Have a dedicated workspace, even if it’s small

Working from home comes with a lot of flexibility. You can choose where to work, mostly also what time you start, when you take breaks and when you call it a day. However, it’s not as easy as it sounds to get into full work mode when you have the option to stay in bed all day and just open your computer to get things done.

Balancing a computer on your legs sitting on your couch or bed day after day can mess with your posture. It’s also highly likely that it won’t put you into your most productive work mindset as you’re normally doing other things like relaxing, reading a book, watching tv or sleeping when you sit on your couch or lie in your bed.

It’s hard to change your habit around using certain areas of the house, that’s why it’s so important to create a dedicated workspace in your home. A place, even if it’s tiny, that has all the elements you need to get your work done. Because as important as it is to have a place to sit down and work, it’s equally vital to be able to get up and leave it when you’re done and are ready to relax.

Get in the zone with an office sounds playlist

If you’re used to working in an office, you’re most likely also used to the typical sounds of an office with colleagues chatting in a corner, people talking on the phone, the coffee machine steaming away and clattering keyboards.

In comparison, your abode might give you nothing but radio silence to work with, except for the occasional car driving past your apartment. It’s not the same, that’s why freelancers often choose to work in a busy café or a co-working space instead of their own place. Familiar office sounds and the smell of coffee are often the triggers you need to hunker down and get things done.

If you don’t have a coffee maker at home, this is probably a good time to invest in one, and as far as office noises are concerned, you can find a variety of playlists online that should do the trick such as office sounds, coffee shop sounds, or library sounds.

Set boundaries and remove distractions

Even if you’re the most dedicated and disciplined worker, there will be a time when a distraction will get the better of you and you suddenly find yourself mindlessly scrolling through Instagram or watching video after video on YouTube instead of finishing that presentation waiting to be ticked off your to-do list.

When you work from home it’s important to set boundaries and remove distractions before you get stuck in. This means that when you’re sitting at your designated workspace, you’re at work, thus not available for leisurely chats with roommates or partners or play time with the kids. You can let everyone know when you’re planning to take your breaks during the day so you can still spend some quality time with your loved ones.

It’s a good idea to put your phone in your desk drawer or to leave it in another room to remove or minimise any distractions from notifications regularly lighting up your phone’s display demanding an immediate reaction. Other than that, you could use extensions like Freedom or AppBlock that block certain websites and apps during your working hours so you can get as much focused work done as you need.

Plan out your working hours and your spare time

If you sit down at your laptop and just start typing without any plan or schedule, you’re most likely not going to bring in the results you have envisioned. When you work from home, it’s important to map out your working hours as well as your breaks to help you with your productivity.

On top of removing distractions and setting boundaries, it’s a good idea to create a work schedule to make the most of the hours you have available to accomplish your work tasks. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated; it can be a simple excel sheet with the days of the week, or a physical journal to jot down the most important to-dos as well as things you’d like to do in your spare time.

There are also numerous online extensions like the Pomodoro Timer to maximise your productivity by working in intervals, or a time-tracking app like Clockify to help you get organised. Good luck!

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