Block up a chunk of time to focus on your work

The holidays are around the corner. Are you one of the few people going to be fortunate enough to be off work with no demands on your time?

When I was back in the corporate space, I recall wishing that it was possible to work remotely.

The idea of no dress code, ad hoc meetings and the liberty of walking into the kitchen to fix a snack whenever the need arose seemed like a dream.

The reality, though, is a bit starker. Say you work from home and the usual interruption come knocking. A phone call from a family member - they have an emergency and need help.

 Or a friend has a crisis at work and needs a listening ear and shoulder to cry on. If you’re working from the office, it is very easy to say no, albeit apologetically.

When working from home though, it is much harder because you, in reality, could drop what you’re working on and help. But the question is, should you?

Set work hours

Block up a chunk of time to focus on your work. A time that doesn’t allow for other activities.

Grace Saunders, a time management coach says blurring the lines between your work time and personal time is a dangerous precedent.

 Other research shows that the way the human brain is wired is that if you have work related tasks that need to be completed, especially those that have deadlines, they will be constantly taking up space in your consciousness.

Even when you’re not at your desk, they will keep coming up for attention until they are completed. Therefore, your brain is never really off or resting.

Create structure

Structure your day for success. First, avoid meetings or conference calls during your most productive hours.

Most of us know when our most high energy levels are. Use these to work on reports, do analysis and respond to the very important emails.

 Disable the notification that comes with your emails and chat messages for this period of time.

Become deliberate about what time you sit to work, when you take breaks and when you have lunch.

Especially important is to set the time when you stop working. This allows you to be guilt-free when running your errands or attending to other personal matters.

Set boundaries

Do you have people in your life who equate your working from home to dropping in on you, asking you to run errands for them or meeting them for coffee at a moment’s notice?

Then you have not set your boundaries up effectively. Be clear that you’re not simply at home but that you have a task list and need to get work done by the time you knock off.

Stay out of sight for the whole time you are working so it is understood that you’re not game for a quick chat or to play, especially if you have kids.

Be responsive

Working from home may be seen as shirking work-related responsibility.

 For this reason, you will need to be available for the conference calls or meetings you have committed to, as well as on email or for important phone calls.

If you do not, the out of sight out of mind adage may apply and lead to you being seen as a less than effective team player.