You’re working at home today, and you get up for the twelfth time to wander through the kitchen, refill your coffee, and look longingly at your kid’s leftover holiday candy that you don’t need to eat another piece of. What’s wrong with you? You have work you should be doing, but it’s hard to stay focused.
Truth be told, you’re not alone. Staying on task is the number one problem people report when they work from home. Luckily, though, there are several strategies you can use to stay on top of things.
First, as silly as it may sound, make a to-do list. You can do this with a post-it note at your desk, or you can make one in an application like Outlook or Google Calendar. However you choose to do it, though, make it specific, and set clearly definable goals. Be sure to prioritize your list accordingly.
Second, divide your day or work period into blocks of time. Fifty minutes works well for most people. At the end of fifty minutes, give yourself a short break and focus on something else. Whether it’s a novel or an excerpt from a radio program, just getting your mind away from your job for a few minutes will give you better on task focus.
Finally, be aware of how you’re using your time so you can more formally evaluate what causes you to get off task and avoid those problems entirely.