Working from home can be difficult, and you can find yourself lying in bed by 2 pm playing video games or watching TV instead of working.
Amongst distractions such as noisy neighbours, curious pets, and the tempting call of your bed or sofa, working from home can lower your expectations of yourself, resulting in less work getting done.
Thankfully, there are ways you can build self-discipline when working from home, and even do a better job than you would in the office.
Keep reading for 5 ways you can improve your self-discipline when working remotely.
Create A Schedule
One of the biggest mistakes that you can make working from home is not setting yourself a schedule.
Without a plan for the day, you’re far more likely to get distracted throughout the day, resulting in lower productivity.
If you don’t have a physical planner or diary, you can create one yourself on Microsoft Word or Google Docs, or download an app to help you plan your day efficiently.
If you usually work from 9-5, then make sure you stick to these hours instead of having a 3-hour lunch break and telling yourself that you’ll make the hours up in the evening – because chances are, you’ll either forget to make the hours up or you won’t work as hard in those hours.
Creating a routine can wire your brain differently, improving your focus and drive.
Working during fixed hours can help you plan your day better, and you’ll be more likely to reach deadlines with ease.
Knowing when your working day ends is also important, as there’s no signal for us to leave and go home.
It’s far too easy to be sat on your laptop until 7 pm catching up on work so there’s less to do tomorrow – but once you’re in this cycle, it can be hard to break out of it.
Set Yourself Breaks (And Stick To Them!)
Breaks should be a part of your schedule working from home, and you should stick to them. It’s far too easy to get immersed in work.
Many of us have been there – it’s mid-afternoon and you realise you’ve not even stopped to have lunch yet.
You’re tired, hungry, and grouchy – and you wish you’d remembered to take a break.
It’s more important than you know to take regular breaks throughout the day. Not only do breaks help your mind and body rest and recharge, but breaks can also:
- Improve attention span
- Improve your morale
- Improve your posture (break from sitting at your desk or table)
- Improve your vision (break from the screen)
One way of reminding yourself to take a break is by setting an alarm on your phone.
You can also download an app that will remind you when to take a break – or if you’re more old-school, then check your planner throughout the day to remind yourself.
Dress For Work
Most of us are guilty of having the occasional pyjama day working from home, but you mustn’t make this a habit.
While working in pyjamas or gym clothes is comfortable, it can put your brain in a different state of mind.
When you’re dressed in your swimsuit or swimming trunks, you’re ready to swim. When you’re dressed in full glam, you’re ready to party.
It’s the same with pyjamas – if you wear pyjamas, you’re ready for bed.
What we wear affects our behaviour – and pyjamas and comfy clothes can encourage our brains to be lazier.
Being dressed for work can improve our efficiency, so dress like you would on a normal day.
Shower, brush your hair and put makeup on if you wear makeup – and dress for the day you want to have.
Getting dressed every day is also beneficial to our mental health, and breaking this routine can have negative effects on us, such as lack of productivity, low self-esteem, and fatigue.
Dressing well can make you feel better about yourself, and improve your mood – which makes for a better and more productive working day.
Have a Designated Workplace
Working from home can be full of distractions – especially if you’re a parent or a pet owner.
The last thing you need when you’re on a Zoom call or if you have an impending deadline is your child acting up or your dog making a mess so having a designated workplace can help prevent this.
If you have children, you can inform them that it’s a no-go zone during working hours, and if possible, keep pets out of the designated area.
Not everybody has an office, but that’s ok – you can still create yourself an area to work in throughout the day.
Whether you choose the dining room table, your study, or even the dresser in your bedroom, having a designated area can boost your productivity and minimize any distractions.
This will also prevent you from lounging on the sofa or lying in bed with your laptop – which is a sure way to lower your productivity and result in you napping.
When you’re working in the office, you usually walk a little.
Whether you walk to work, walk to and from the bus stop or train station, or just walk from the car park to your office, you’re still moving your body.
It can be easy to forget this while working from home, as you have no real reason to leave the house.
This is bad for your mind and body – physical activity is necessary if you want to be healthy and productive.
If possible, take a quick walk or jog in the morning and afternoon to stretch your legs, exercise your muscles, and give your brain a boost.
This should clear your thoughts and improve your focus and motivation for the rest of the day.
Mark is a multi-award winner in business networking and relationship building. He is passionate about coaching and mentoring business owners and professionals through 1-1 & group coaching, team performance workshops and group mastermind sessions.