Happy Tuesday, everyone! Today we’re going to be expanding on our work-from-home series with some tips and tricks for how to stay focused and productive when your living room is your office. The most important thing is to be aware that there are many different personalities and the first step is always being mindful and aware of yourself and your preferences. Sometimes this involves a little bit of experimentation to find what works best for you, and sometimes this just means acknowledging your own limitations or shortcomings.
Our coBranding team also believes strongly in making work-from-home work for you. As long as you’re getting your tasks done on time, it doesn’t really matter when you do them! For instance, our CEO Rachel is a night owl and gets some of her best ideas at 2 AM, but our web designer Becca needs to be tucked in tight by 11 PM and is most productive between 11 AM and 3 PM. When working as part of a team, differences in levels of productivity at different times of the day might not sound like an ideal situation, but as long as each member of the team is accountable for themselves and completes work by deadlines, the work can get done in a timely and orderly fashion!
To reflect this, we’ve recently restructured our entire work-from-home policy – all the team members at coBranding Studio now work their own hours. The only time of day in which we’re required to be present and to work is 2 PM on weekdays, which is the time of our daily check-in. In this way, we’re able to keep in touch with each other and our goals for the day, while also allowing for flexibility in our schedules. It’s worked wonderfully for us thus far, and we highly recommend making this change to any company that is able to do so!
Today we’re going to give you a quick profile on our employees and how they stay productive and focused at work, along with their best tips for you to try out during your own work week!
BECCA, Lead Web Designer and COO
Becca lives for routine and schedule but also has a wide variance in workload from week to week. Sometimes we have five clients who are all in the web design stage at once which equals a super busy work week, but other times everyone is in the initial logo and brand design stage so there isn’t as much for Becca to do. During those times, she puts more of an emphasis on her duties as COO, tracking income and expenses, running payroll, and asking how she can help someone else on the team!
Through some trial and error, Becca found that having a movie or TV show on in the background can help keep her productive by offering the opportunity to take brief brain breaks to watch the screen throughout the day. We definitely recommend putting on something you’ve seen before or something that doesn’t take a lot of effort or concentration to follow so you can check in and out while you’re mainly focused on your work. This can also help provide some background noise if you live alone but are used to working in an office setting where there’s lots of ambient noise. If film doesn’t seem like a good idea for you, there are lots of YouTube videos and apps that will help create a sound-only environment to help you feel more comfortable working at home!
SAM, Lead Brand Designer
Sam has a number of tips and pointers for staying focused and on-task while working from home that she uses in her own work life. First, she finds that wearing shoes while sitting at her desk has been beneficial in helping her maintain focus. Shoes help her to feel grounded, and especially when working from home, it helps for Sam to have something that helps to differentiate between when she is working and when she is not. In essence, wearing shoes helps Sam to craft a “work persona” while at home, as opposed to her “casual persona” when she’s not working.
Sam also listens to ASMR videos while she works. She finds that the sounds calm her, while also helping her too feel refreshed and ready to keep going with any tasks she might be working on at that time. Because of their relaxing and non-distracting nature, ASMR videos are easy to listen to in the background while working.
Lastly, Sam recommends getting up, moving around, and going outside if you are able to do so. Whenever she’s starting to feel antsy or overwhelmed, or if she begins to feel as though she’s been sitting in the same spot for awhile, this always allows for a reset of her mental workload, which subsequently makes it easy to focus on the task at hand.
JESS, Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Jess has ADHD, and there are days where she knows her focus is more of a struggle than usual. It helps her to have routine, but she also acknowledges that it can vary on a day to day basis. As a result, she is forgiving of herself if she happens to fall out of her routine.
Jess makes sure to get up around the same time every day, giving herself time to eat, take her medication, and listen to her morning show and music. Furthermore, she makes an effort not to leave her home office except for bathroom breaks, food, or stretch breaks until she is done for the day.
CHRISTIAN, Digital Media Strategist
Christian is no stranger to having occasional difficulty focusing, and this is especially true when he is working from home. One experiment Christian found helpful was setting a timer for himself on his phone for 30 minutes. During that time period until the timer rang, he dedicated himself to focusing exclusively on the tasks he had at hand, and made an effort to not pick up the phone until the timer went off. By the time the timer had gone off, Christian was so focused on the work he was doing that he added on an additional 30 minutes to the timer and kept going!
You can see that even among these four members of our team, there are a lot of varying personalities and preferences when it comes to productivity and focus! If you already know what tips sound like the most helpful, give them a shot this week and see how it changes your work week. If you’re not sure which option is the best for you, here’s a handy little checklist of all our different suggestions. Best of luck with your work-from-home journey!
Set timers for work-only intervals and breaks, such as 30 minutes at your desk and then a 5 minute stretch break.
Turn on the TV, music, ASMR, or ambient noise in the background to help replicate your usual work environment or get in the zone.
Make a to-do list for yourself! Checking off each individual item on the list gives you a feeling of accomplishment, and encourages you to stay focused on the next task you need to cross off.
Distinguish between ‘work self’ and ‘casual self,’ whether this is through your wardrobe, location, or other aspects of daily life.