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Staying Focused When Working From Home

Working from home is a great option that includes many advantages. But, it can take some practice to be productive when working from the comfort of home. If you’re tempted to do household chores when you should be working, here are some tips for staying focused.

Plan Your Day

Having a plan for your day will help keep pressing tasks at top of mind. Miss Efficiency’s Founder and Senior Bookkeeper, Sarah Stein says, “Review at the beginning of the day what needs to be done and work systematically. [Then] review at the end of the day what’s been done, and needs to be pushed forward, what needs to be done tomorrow.”    For Kirsten Forrester, CEO of Accounting for Good, “planning and a pressing to-do list” helps her stay focused when working from home.

Set Clear Boundaries

Sarah Stein likes to make sure she sets clear boundaries when working from home for both herself and her family and friends. “I set boundaries with myself about ‘home’ time and ‘work’ time, and set clear boundaries with family and friends who may pop in for a coffee because they know I’m at home anyway.”

Nicole Lynch, Director of Streamline Management, makes a deal with herself that she “needs to finish a task before getting up for tea or a biscuit”. Gary Green, Chartered Accountant at Key Business Consultants, LLP follows a similar rule. “I take everything I need into the office, so I do not have to leave for anything. Do not answer the home phone. Separate business wifi and telephone.”

Choose Your Work Carefully

Knowing what type of work to do when you’re working from home can help with staying focused. “I’m more focused when working from home, as there are less distractions. I aim to work a day a week at home, mainly on strategy, planning and marketing,” says Sharon Pocock, MD and Chief Innovator at Kinder Pocock.

Kirsten Forrester likes to “schedule phone calls, report writing or research work from home Wednesday”.

Thanks to the Cloud and the various apps available on it, working from home while staying connected to clients and employees is easier than it used to be. If you plan your day, set clear boundaries, and choose your work carefully, you’ll have no problem staying focused and working productively.

Heather Smith produces a bi-weekly Accounting Apps newsletter. Learn more and subscribe on her website.