"Working" from home


I might be working from home, but sometimes my mind wanders. There is any number of reasons why I get distracted and float into a spacey place. The cat is cute, my notifications are blowing up, there’s food in the fridge, the sun is shining, I need coffee, etcetera. But I’ve got some quick and cheap ways to keep your brain on the right path and away from Googling flights to Scotland on a whim. Here's some tricks to stay on task:

Put your face on.

Maybe the hardest thing to do is to still act like you’re going to leave the house to work. It helps to get ready like you normally would—the thousands of other blogs and freelancers were right! Listen to them. They know what’s up.

Keep a trinket on your desk that takes the place of your phone.

When you feel like you have to reach for your phone (as we all do), reach for that other thing instead. I tend to reach for a piece of fluorite, which is a crystal meant to help focus and calm the mind, or a quartz chunk that just feels good in my hand. Crystals and stones, whether you believe in their metaphysical qualities or not, also make some pretty chic desk décor. A slinky or rubix cube is a classic option for the less metaphysically inclined.

Light a candle.

Almost all of my focus problems stem from my phone addiction, which is much stronger than I previously thought. I light a candle (one of these tapers from HausWitch) and use the flame as a channel for my need to look around and somehow it occupies the side of my brain that needs constant stimuli.

Work when you know you’re at your most productive.

Why are you freelancing if you can’t choose (at least some) of your own hours? I was attempting to work literally all the time for the last 2 months. Just now I’m starting to whittle away at some of my workweek. There are days where I’m just not getting anything done. And it’s because I haven’t taken a real break in days, maybe weeks. Take the time and your concentration will return.

Find music that focuses you.

Maybe it’s not music. Maybe it’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Whatever that background noise is, crank it when you need to get your brain to know it’s time to concentrate. Eventually those tones will put you into immediate productivity mode.

Home office away from home.

Home can only be your workspace for part of the week. If you spend every waking moment there, you will not stay productive. Find a local coffee shop or coworking space; even the library can be a welcome change of pace. I consider my local coffeehouse an extension of my home office—but I try to tip my baristas a little extra and get lunch if I'm going to be taking up space for an extended period.

I’ll take my board.

What’s the point of cruising around town in your car when you could be burning a few calories? When you hop off to the local coffee shop take a bike, walk, longboard, do something less traditional than driving. Your body will thank you and the exercise will keep your creative and sharp as a tack.

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Cheryl Rafuse