Working-from-home tips for the easily distracted

Caroline Potter, Monster contributor

Man working on a laptop.Most employees relish the opportunity to work remotely on occasion, but coronavirus has left many people with no choice but to hunker down at home. On the upside, your commute becomes a matter of steps, not miles, and you might get to enjoy an extra hour of sleep before starting the workday. But working remotely is not without troubles, especially if you're already prone to not-so-great work habits. Temptation and distraction lurk at every turn. 

Start the day like you would any other workday
It's fine to catch a few extra winks if you don't have to make your regular commute. However, don't stray too far from your usual morning routine. If you used to go to the gym each morning, set aside time for a workout. Don't skip your morning shower or work in your bathrobe. Get dressed in something comfortable that isn't your pajamas. You want your new routine to feel somewhat familiar.

Find a productive place
Even if you live in a studio apartment, you can create a space in your home that will be dedicated to work for the day. If you don't have a proper desk, use your kitchen table. And, even though it worked for Winston Churchill, avoid working from your bed unless you're under the weather. It's tough to be professional and productive when you're propped up by pillows.

Remember you're still (sort of) at work
If you're working from home, your boss isn't likely to be looking over your shoulder. You may, then, feel the urge to do more Amazon shopping or Instagram scrolling or panic-reading of the latest news reports than you normally might at the office. Don't. If you're too easily distracted, grab your cell phone and set the timer with a reasonable amount of time (10 to 15 minutes) to get your fill and then move on. The same goes for staring at the shelves of your refrigerator. Decide what you'll have for breakfast, lunch, and snacks early in the day so you don't waste work time wondering what you'll eat.

Make a to-do list to get things done
All the working from home tips in the world won't do you any good if you don't adhere to them. You know how school kids who are suddenly remote-learning are making adorable handwritten schedules for themselves? Do the same.

To stay on track during the day, create a work-related to-do list at the start of your day and keep it at your side. Having a list of tasks at the ready will help you remain focused and ensure that nothing slips through the cracks. It also helps you maintain semi-regular hours, rather than accidentally working into the evening.

Do not disturb
If you live with roommates or family members, let them know that you need a reasonable amount of peace and quiet when working remotely. Ask not to be disturbed during certain hours or only for very important matters and define what those matters are. If you have particularly rambunctious pets, consider taking the dog for an extra-long morning walk—now that you're not commuting—to burn off some of their energy. Depending on your city's/town's regulations, you can still keep your regular dog-walker employed while you work from home.

Keep in touch
These are just a few working-from-home tips that can get you through this unprecedented time. Reach out to your co-workers to find out how they're coping and what's working for them. 

Originally Posted on 

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