/ Focus Hints and Tips for Home Workers

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George Ormerod 19 Mar 2020

Apologies if you can't, but even in normal circumstances I have great difficulty focusing when working from home.  It reminds me of revising for exams when absolutely everything other than what you're meant to do becomes important.

Any tips, other than stopping posting shite on UKC?

Archy Styrigg 19 Mar 2020
In reply to George Ormerod:

According to Chris Addison, get rid of your fridge.
He says he suddenly finds himself staring at the contents of his fridge for no reason.

Lord_ash2000 19 Mar 2020
In reply to George Ormerod:

As someone who works from home all the time anyway (and also posts quite a lot of shit on UKC) I'd say the best plan is to divide up your time into work time and play time. 

Working from home gives you quite a lot of flexibility, for example, if you need to pop to the shops, get a hair cut, collect a package etc there is nothing stopping you popping out for half an hour, likewise dealing with your own life admin etc at home. 

However, you do need to learn not to take the piss with it. When I first started working from home (and for myself) I used to end up finding myself doing odd bits here and there and the result was that a days work got spread out across the whole day and I'd find myself getting something finished at 10pm because I'd spent half the day messing about. The result was you end up spending 16 hours a day semi-working and never have time for anything separate. So it's best to say, "ok, I'm going to do solid work 9am-12, then take an hour off for lunch and I need to do XYZ errand, then back 2pm-5:30 then I'm stopping regardless of where I'm at". 

That way there are clear divides between work and pleasure rather than getting mixed up in a state of permanent semi work.  

Post edited at 14:30
profitofdoom 19 Mar 2020
In reply to George Ormerod:

> Any tips, other than stopping posting shite on UKC?

I've spent ages working at home, my ideas are - set up a work area (with a comfortable chair and desk if you need them), set regular hours for work and stick to them (strictly split work/pleasure), and the hardest one - if you live with someone and/or kids firmly let them know work is work, no play or long breaks. Keep in regular touch with colleagues and discuss work issues. Never ever work in the living room. Take breaks as you would at work. Good luck

George Ormerod 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Archy Styrigg:

On the plus side the dog is getting lots of attention.

dread-i 19 Mar 2020
In reply to George Ormerod:

I'd add, background music is good for focus. Find what works for you and when. If you dont have spotify or similar, then consider that a worthy investment.

If you have a room you can close the door on, let people know that door closed = working.

Skype, teams, zoom etc are pretty handy. Make sure your on mute when not actually speaking. Turn your camera off, and / or get a decent background. You don't want your colleagues seeing that big pile of washing.

You can reduce snacking by having other distractions. Eg: Do 20 press ups for each slice of toast.

wintertree 19 Mar 2020
In reply to George Ormerod:

Great article on my favourite tech news website here

https://arstechnica.com/staff/2020/03/suddenly-working-at-home-weve-done-it-for-22-years-and-have-advice/

Be sure to read some of their other stories when you drop by...

For me the key is the same as for being productive at work - have a prioritised list of jobs to do, and when I loose focus on one, drop down the list to another one for a bit then go back up.

Timmd 19 Mar 2020
In reply to George Ormerod:

I used to find that the BBC world service was quite good for focus, as background noise to 'fill in the gaps' when my attention drifted, I'm currently in the same boat regarding focus. Will be watching this thread.

Edit: Re filling the gaps, I find that my mind can switch between what I am meant to focus on, and 1000's of other things if there isn't something in the background like the world service. I possibly seem to be like my Dad, who used to put Radio 4 on when doing his computer programming in the office at home.

Post edited at 15:06
George Ormerod 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Timmd:

I'm not sure listening to rolling news is ideal for mental well-being at the moment.  But that's that I'm doing!

Post edited at 15:04
Timmd 19 Mar 2020
In reply to George Ormerod: Good point! Maybe podcasts might be cheerier?

Post edited at 15:06
Dax H 19 Mar 2020
In reply to George Ormerod:

As others have said set times for working and stick to them but if you can be flexible with times do so. When im doing admin I find running my days from 5am to 2pm works best for me but site work is best 7 to 4.

The Mrs is working from home at the moment but she has to stick to her normal 8 to 4 hours because that is when the companies she is chasing for money are open. 

two_tapirs 19 Mar 2020
In reply to George Ormerod:

I wfh a fair bit, so in no particular order:

  • I find that if I start the day with a walk, usually around the time I'd leave if I was commuting, then my brain gets kick started into work mode a lot quicker.
  • Music; if you're used to office noise/chatter then wfh can be a deafening silence.  If not music, then a podcast, talk radio of some kind
  • A comfy, decent chair that supports your back, and is the right height for you, and also distance from your desk.  The chair in the kitchen is good for lunch or dinner, not for a day of work
  • Have online meetings with laptop cam/web cam; it's easy to feel isolated from the people you work with when you don't see them
  • Fresh air; I have to have a window on the latch or open.  A stuffy room is not great to work in, and the chances are your home office is smaller than your normal work office.
  • Set your monitor/laptop screen at a decent height, so that you aren't straining your neck.  If you don't have a dedicated work room normally, you will benefit from getting this right from the start.
  • Have a daily catch up with your team, if you don't already. 
  • If you've got a cat or dog and they want to sit with you, make the most of it
  • If you're using webcams for meetings, double check what and/or who is behind you.  
  • Go for a walk round the block or further at the end of the day; it will feel like you're finishing work.  When I wfh it's often harder to stop thinking of work than when I commute, as I don't have that distraction of going home, or commuting.
JIMBO 20 Mar 2020
In reply to two_tapirs:

> Music; if you're used to office noise/chatter then wfh can be a deafening silence.  If not music, then a podcast, talk radio of some kind

Have you tried this... https://www.noisli.com

two_tapirs 20 Mar 2020
In reply to JIMBO:

> Have you tried this... https://www.noisli.com

that's really nice, thanks for sharing it


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