Life has drastically changed for us in the last few weeks and many of us have found ourselves working from home; something we are not trained at doing nor did we imagine ourselves to be doing everyday.
Procrastinating has never been so appealing, and distractions seem to flow in from every nook and cranny. two hour tasks suddenly become four hour tasks, and it feels like a never ending cycle of saying I’ll do it later.
We’re all finding ourselves in similar situations whilst home working and for many of us, the reason is very simple; we are not separating our workspace form the area we relax in.
According to one study, 80% of young professionals admit to working from bed which may be the reason as to why we feel so unproductive.
Why should you separate your work space from your bedroom:
Firstly, to maintain the bedroom as a relaxing space Separating different work spaces are important for how you mentally perceive the space around you. It’s both important and mentally appealing to have different areas allocated for where you complete different actions.
Your work space should be separate from the area you relax in and similarly so should the place you eat in. This ensures that your mental associations with these places are distinct and unconnected. If your mental associations with these places are somewhat jumbled, it will be difficult to complete any tasks at all. According to the Harvard Business Review’s 'Guide to Being more Productive', it mentions:
“Unless you are careful to maintain boundaries, you may start to feel like you’re always at work and losing a place to come home to”.
Whilst it is understandable that many of us do not have the luxury of space, but even then, try and allocate different sections of the space you have for different tasks. It will make a huge difference.
Secondly, to increase your quality of sleep The Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard reiterates the idea that work shouldn’t happen where you sleep. They recommend:
“Keeping computers, TVs, and work materials out of the room will strengthen the mental association between your bedroom and sleep.”
If you allocate the space for only sleeping and relaxing, when you enter your bedroom, it mentally encourages your body to relax because of the associations one has connected to it.
By separating your work space, you’re less likely to work right before going to sleep, you’re therefore less likely to use your laptop and mobile phone and reduce the exposure to a bright screen.
This reduces the likelihood of exposing oneself to bright light which reduces the melatonin required for one to fall asleep which can reduce productivity the next day.
What to do instead of working in your bedroom:
1. Keep your work devices in a different part of your home
Making sure your bedroom is solely an area for you to sleep in will really help to boost and improve the quality of your sleep and overall your performance. Similarly, keeping your mobile phone away from your work space can help improve productivity. There is nothing more distracting than seeing notifications from your friends and family continuously lighting up your phone.
2. Create a distinct and separate area for work
Allocate a space in your house for work. Try to make this an open area with plentiful natural light coming in which is preferably away from distractions. Decorate your work space with motivating tools such as quirky calendars or frames with quotes to help to increase your productivity. There is nothing more motivating than having an area that makes you happy to work in.
3. Create a timetable
Make a timetable and allocate yourself time to work and time to relax. Having a structured routine helps to instil a work ethic and is also a good way to make sure you’re not getting distracted and going off track. Make sure you give yourself breaks in between as working continuously is never a good idea. Ensure you’re also fuelling your body with the correct foods and keeping yourself hydrated with plenty of water. Keep a bowl of fruit, a bottle of water and some snacks nearby to avoid tempting yourself to nip to the kitchen.
Remember that home working can be effective and enjoyable. It’s something that so many of us dreamt of when we were in the office. What can be better than being able to stay at home in the comfort of our own homes? Learn how to do it correctly by making distinctions between your spaces will allow the pleasures of working from home to flourish.