No one wants to deal with the stress of having to go through rush hour traffic at the wheel or on public transport, suffering with the elements, or even limiting the completion of chores to allotted periods of time before or after business hours. That’s why remote workers have got it made. But having work and leisure in the same place has its downsides as well, since not only is it necessary to fight loneliness but there are also uncountable distractions that surround your home-based workplace. Fortunately, not all of these attention-grabbing moments are bad and, with the benefit of flexible work schedules, some can even be turned into positives to help overcome the toughest days.
“You Work From Home? I’m so Jealous… Wish I Could Do That!”
Most people have a job where they have to leave the house to go to their place of work, and these people usually feel that those that work remotely are never under stress. If you’re one of us, then you’ve most certainly heard something like “you don’t have to deal with those annoying co-workers or bosses that are always on top of you”, or “you can listen to music and watch movies while working”, and many others.
While this is partly true, it’s not exactly the bed of roses that they imagine it to be, and things can get quite hectic sometimes, too. Working remotely is just as stressful, just in a different way since there are many more distractions than being in an office.
Some of these distractions can actually help with stress. Pets, for instance, can sense your state of mind and might become quite an annoying disturbance as they try to cheer you up when you’re already overwhelmed and need to concentrate on an important task. So, how to turn this into a positive? It’s simple: take a deep breath and lead them away to finish what you’re doing. Then get up, stretch your legs, and take a break to reward them with fun play or a quick walk. It’ll help both of you and will recharge your batteries to help you refocus on work.
Surviving Bad Distractions
Of all the distractions that a remote worker must endure, permanently checking social media is perhaps the most common. There’s a simple solution, however: leave the internet off and the device at a distance to avoid touching it as much as possible.
It’s also particularly hard to focus when returning to work after lunch. Even if you try to prevent it with a giant cup of coffee, post-lunch drowsiness will always kick in, and while that’s a problem that’s necessary to overcome in an office, at home your bed and couch are so close and easily accessible that a quick nap will seem unavoidable.
So how can you survive this disloyal battle between your brain and your body? Well, if there’s no work to rush or fixed schedules to accomplish, just give in to temptation; take half an hour for yourself and you’ll feel as good as new. After all, the Spanish siesta has proven to have cardiovascular benefits and boosts productivity in the afternoon for those who take it regularly. And don’t worry about those ‘lost’ 30 minutes, they’ll be easily compensated for by the end of the day.
But when you must work, then you must work. Getting up and washing your face or going to the window to get some fresh air is a great help up for washing away the mental cobwebs. Alternatively, listening to music will also help in keep you awake, though this is a slightly different case. The effect of music on productivity is well known but while some people need absolute silence to concentrate on their chores, others perform better when listening to their favorite tunes. The various styles and each person’s individual tastes dictate just how much impact music has on work – positively or negatively – but give it a try and see how you feel.
Changing your routine and work schedules to avoid familiarity will help your mind focus on work, and if worst comes to worst some find that working at a cafe or other place out of the house can help maintain concentration while still enjoying the benefits of working remotely.