In the previous post Set up a perfect work from home space: Part One - The Physical Space we looked at what you need to include in your workspace to help you feel comfortable in your seat as well in online presentations as well as prevent fatigue and spinal injury. If you missed this one, it's definitely worth jumping back to so here's the link to get you there.
As part two of that we want to look at your mental attitude to your work environment and see if there are any overlooked areas that could be draining your energy or pushing your brain to find distractions.
So here's easy ways to sharpen your brain and get the most out of the time you put into spending in your home office.
First thing is first, those great expectations!
You don't work a solid day in the office. There are interruptions from you co-workers, phone calls and emails that need your immediate attention, social morning teas, fire alarm tests, toilet breaks and meetings. It's not as fluid and economical as we might think so it's important that what we replicate at home isn't aimed to be the perfect idea of work we have in our heads. Make room for imperfections and leave time for distractions and tangents. They will happen.
One really important thing to keep in mind is a start and stop time. The best way to achieve this is to have your own work space. Not everyone has room for a home office but you will find you work better if you create a nook just for work. As well as scratching out a physical space, it's essential to communicate with your family that this is a do not disturb space. If you work from the couch, or your bed, you may have a lot of trouble switching on and off so that line between work and leisure really starts to get blurred.
Stick to your morning routine
You might not need to do that one hour commute any more but keeping your alarm clock set for your usual routine will really help your body clock stay in time with what you are doing now, and in the future. Use that extra morning time to go for a jog, sit down for breakfast with your family or get the household chores out of the way before you get to your desk. Do make sure you have breakfast away from your work desk and your face is washed, teeth cleaned and 'work' clothes are on before you sit down at the computer.
Write up a to do list at the start of the day and make sure you assign the hardest work (i.e. the work you really hate doing or that is daunting) for the start of the day so you get it out of the way quickly. If you have lots of little tasks to do that distract from your main tasks, see about allocating them out to other staff members or hiring a Virtual Assistant to help you out.
Block out your time
The best way to work is in time blocks or time slabs. If you jump from job to job and email to email you are going to flatten your energy out, it's like having one battery connected to five different appliances. None of them will operate very well.
Set up your tasks for the day into blocks of time and work on just that task for that allocated time before taking a break. A slab of time means you don't stop to check other emails or answer other enquires at all. One task at a time. Make time to tidy up through the day so you do get to those lose bits and pieces as well.
What you choose your block time to be will depend on a few things, including your personality and the tasks at hand, you might need a few flexible test runs to perfect it. Whatever you choose 90 minute blocks should be your maximum, as after this your brain will be aching for a change of task and will power down. You can do as little as 50 minutes and stop for a ten-minute break if you like to work to a well-rounded hour.
Take a five to ten-minute break between every block of time (or every hour if you find that works better). Your mind and body are going to be looking for breaks through the day to rest, stretch and reboot.
Step away for lunch
Eating lunch at your desk is not going to do you any favours at work or at home. Be sure to have clean and healthy lunch options with plenty of variety ready through the week. Prepared meals will help make your break easy and reduce clean up that might lead to a total kitchen makeover. Give your mind a break and really enjoy your food. It will help your digestion and also stop you from eating when you are full. Use your lunch break to play with your kids or pets, go for a walk, go to the supermarket, do a puzzle.
It might seem counterproductive to have noise on but the shock of a super silent house compared to your office, or a super noisy home if you have kids running around, might just be too much for your brain to bare. If you find yourself distracted by radio or music a sure way to get around this is white noise. Trance music especially is great at creating a buffer from your immediate environment and allowing your brain to focus. This is one of those ones you have to try to believe. White noise apps are easy to find on your devices.
If you are working with clutter or you are surrounded by every household chore you are going to struggle to find focus and motivation to work. A little bit of prep work is all you need to zero in on your work goals and enter a zone where you can power to success.