Working from home especially today isn’t always easy. There are many distractions around that makes it hard for most of us to be productive, be it watching movies on Netflix, gardening, and even kids running around the house! There’s always something probably more fun to do either than working, after all, your boss wouldn’t know if you’re actually working right? Unless you’re constantly on a Zoom call, then you would have to find that peaceful spot in your house where no one will bother you (that includes the road traffic and neighbours fighting next door). So, what do you actually have to do to have a productive life when you have all these distractions around you?

1. Be intentional.

You have to ask yourself what it is that needs to be done. It’s like traveling, you have to have a specific destination, otherwise, you will end up going in circles. You don’t want to just ‘wing it’ because you will end up forgetting about the tasks. What you have to do first is to write down clear goals or bullet points of things that you need to accomplish within the day. This is best to do the day before so you can start the list as soon as the sun is up the next day! It’s like following a schedule, by setting daily goals gives you a bird’s eye view of your entire day allowing you to plan your day even your week ahead increasing efficiency without missing time for yourself.

2. Have discipline.

Motivation is not enough to keep going because you always have to find a reason to work instead of having discipline. No matter what you are feeling, tired, hungry, brokenhearted - if you have the desire to do something, you’ll always be in the zone. So to expound further on the two subjects, motivation is more of a short-term feeling or drive to do something compared to discipline, it’s about building habits and training your body and mind to function in a specific and controlled way. Discipline is a skill that only with the strongest of minds will earn and maintain. When you are disciplined, nothing can distract you!

3. Have a designated workspace.

It’s so inherently easy to fall from being distracted by the things around you. That is why it’s so important to have a designated space for work and no, your bed doesn’t count. Think of it as going to your actual workplace, there is no TV, no loud music and there’s your supervisor continuously checking on your work. There is only a computer or laptop, a bottle of water and you. You can dress up as if you’re going to work if that would make you feel in the ‘zone’ but it might be a little OTT to some especially if you are not doing any Zoom meetings but it’s all up to you, do whatever works for you - as the old phrase goes, “Whatever floats your boat!”. You have to create this atmosphere that mimics your workplace but doesn’t necessarily have to be boring, you can still have your interchanging funky lights or your cat snooping around, as long as it wouldn’t interfere with your focus then it would work. If you would notice whenever you are in a certain space, your body and brain automatically recalibrate itself to what you should be feeling without forcing it to.

4. One extra tip is to put your phone away.

As someone working from home, I learned to have the habit of leaving my phone as far away as I can when I’m working because whenever I see a notification I tend to check it within a few seconds, leading to a few minutes of scrolling on social media.

Working from home is now the norm that not one of us expected so we should just learn, adapt, and enjoy the ride because we can only control what we can control.

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