Breaks and Distractions: Working Remotely – Part 3

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Knowing how to use breaks productively and anticipate distractions will enhance your ability to work successfully from home.

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Breaks and Distractions Overview

Using breaks productively and anticipating distractions enhances your ability to work successfully from home.

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Working Remotely: Tips for a Productive Work Day at Home Part 3

Knowing how to use breaks productively and anticipate distractions will enhance your ability to work successfully from home.

When working from home, schedule intentional breaks throughout the day. 

It may seem more efficient to power through tasks without breaks; however, studies show that productivity may actually increase when short breaks are taken throughout the day.  Here are some quick tips for taking breaks.

Establish break times.  Determine several times throughout the day to take short breaks.  Work with uninterrupted focus when not on break. 

Leave your workspace during breaks.  Take a brief walk and change scenery.  Avoid sitting at your desk on social media during your designated break. Instead, move around to increase blood flow and respiration.

Keep breaks short.  Leave personal appointments for lunch or after hours. If you need to make a personal call you anticipate will take more than a few minutes, wait until after hours. Be smart and strategic about your breaks. 

Remember, breaks are for the purpose of productivity.  Excessive or prolonged breaks, or breaks without substantial work completed in between, defeat the purpose and are no longer helpful.

While breaks support productivity, never forget, tough times call for tough measures. Teams must often pull together to go above and beyond.  This being said, there will be times when we must all hold breaks to a minimum to get a task or project completed as participants in the collective success of the company.  Make each minute count and creatively consider ways you can proactively contribute as part of your team. 

Finally, anticipate distractions and plan for the unexpected. 

Even in the office, distractions are inevitable. Home is no different.  If you are not the only person home, it is almost guaranteed you will encounter distractions throughout the day.

Maximize your delay time.  Anticipate it will take slightly more time than you normally need to accomplish most tasks. Allow a buffer for distractions you may encounter. 

Minimize social media distractions.    It is a good idea to stay off social media during the workday and leave it until the end of the day.

Communicate expectations to family members or roommates.  If others are in the house, let them know your work schedule – especially upcoming conference calls.  It is also very important to secure pets prior to phone calls or video conferences to avoid interruptions or background interference.   

Working from home has many great benefits, especially with organized processes and effective communication.  Plan for success. 

Keep this list in mind to help you successfully work from home.
  • Create and stick to a plan for your day.
  • Stay actively engaged.
  • Over-communicate.
  • Implement a reporting system.
  • Schedule breaks throughout the day.
  • Anticipate distractions and plan for the unexpected.

Following these simple steps can increase your efficiency and make working from home both rewarding and productive. 

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