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How to Avoid Distractions When Working Remotely

The option for remote working promised us more freedom and greater productivity. Yet, what many didn’t realize is that working from home (or elsewhere outside the office) requires new ways of working.

While there are many distractions at the office, there is also an equal number outside it. And there’s no one to catch you staring at your phone, browsing the internet, or giving in to other distractions.

Do you find yourself fighting an uphill distraction battle? Use these tips to avoid distractions wherever you work now.

Four Ways To Focus When Working Remotely

Use Background Noise

Many of us long to work in a quiet space when in a busy office, but working in a quiet room can make you hyper-aware of distractions.

You may find it easier to focus by using background noise to simulate the outside world or increase your focus. Music or the radio can do the trick for some, but you may also find it smart to try options like Brain.FM, which drives your brain to focus on the task at hand. 

Even background noise like a video of coffee shop background noise on YouTube or from Coffivity could get the creative juices flowing.

Find a Rhythm for New Modes of Work

Whether you now work from home, a co-working space, or your car while running errands, your workflow will differ compared to the office. For many people, sitting down for three solid hours of uninterrupted work is not a possibility outside the confines of HQ. If that’s you, don’t try to force it.

If you have the flexibility, try a new rhythm for work. You might change the hours you work during the day, break the day up into chunks, or even reduce your daily hours and spread them over the whole week.

Play around and find what works for you.

Stand Up and Take Breaks

You stare at your screen blankly and then give up and divert yourself away from the task at hand in favor of reading the news, responding to messages, or online shopping. All of a sudden, six hours have passed, and you still can’t get back to work.

In 2020, a study found that 95% of employees no longer take as many breaks, despite having more freedom when working from home.

Make it a point to stand up and take a short break. Set a timer or use a method like the Pomodoro technique. Taking more breaks leaves you feeling refreshed and helps you avoid distractions.

Turn on Anti-Distraction Mode on Your Phone

Do you ever pick up your phone and find 20 minutes passed without you noticing? Without anyone to stop you, it’s easy to find yourself scrolling through Twitter for hours on end.

Anti-distraction mode helps protect you from notifications, and for most, it’s built right into your phone. If you need an extra hand, try an app like Freedom or RescueTime to lock you out of the biggest time-sucks on your phone.

Remote work is here to stay, but you may need to find new productivity hacks that reflect your new environment.

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Best Practices When Working Remotely

Remote work was once considered a perk, but it’s now becoming more than ‘desirable.’ For many businesses around the world, it’s essential. In 2019, 3.4% of U.S. workers skipped the office and worked from an off-site location. It goes without saying that the figure is much higher in 2020. Facebook and Google just extended their work-from-home policies until the end of 2020.

Working remotely is a big change, and while there are many benefits, adjustments must be made to succeed. Because so many jobs in IT and tech cater well to remote working, employers are looking for candidates who bring remote work skills to the table.

To help you out, we put together some of the best practices candidates and employees can use when making the transition to remote work.

Choose Your Working Hours Carefully

Finding the right hours requires some careful experimentation. Because whether you’re easily distracted or tend towards workaholic tendencies, working from home (or a coffee shop) requires you to know what you want to accomplish and when.

If your company doesn’t require you to track your time and has flexible hours, start by playing around with your most productive working hours. For some people, prime time starts at 7 AM. For others, nothing gets done before lunch.

Don’t try to force yourself into the typical 9-5 at home unless it’s required by your employer. By giving yourself space to find your most productive periods, you can then create a structure that allows you to be productive and consistent and say “pencils down” at the end of the day.

Find a Work Station 

The first big wave of remote workers started in March, and about two weeks in, they all realized that working on your computer from your sofa or kitchen table is fairly untenable. 

It’s important to find a space in your home where you can work that’s not only private but also not in a space where you otherwise spend your time.

One of the biggest problems remote workers have isn’t being productive but switching off at the end of the day. Working from your sofa makes that much harder.

Make finding a place to work each day a priority, and if that means getting out of the house when things reopen, don’t be afraid of that either!

Play with Task Management Methodologies

Because you’re not physically at work, it can be difficult to prioritize or manage tasks. Ideally, you’re working with a project management app or channel, but even then, it’s easy to look at the long list and not get anything done.

Consider adding other methodologies like the Pomodoro technique to help you complete tasks and refocus when you need to. Other apps and techniques you can try include:

  • Flowtime
  • Cowrkr
  • Swiff

Are You Ready for Remote Work?

Remote work was already a force to be reckoned with, but the Covid-19 pandemic has transformed it from an experiment in employee perks to a way of life. It’s very likely that even when businesses can return to work as normal, many will still seek to keep certain staff working off-site.

Learn more

Are you on the hunt for your next role? Get in touch to learn more about how we place consultants like you with projects that match your skills and work-style.


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