5 Focus Tips for Designers Working From Home
by Taylor Slattery | September 7, 2023
Working from home comes with a lot of perks. Besides not having to worry about an office dress code, the time saved by not having to commute means we have more time to spend with family and friends or on hobbies or other interests. While the remote working lifestyle grants us a lot of freedom and flexibility around where and when we work, it’s not without its challenges.
It can be tough to stay focused and feel connected to the team when working in a relaxing environment full of distractions. Here are 5 tips that can help you stay focused and boost productivity while working from home.
#1 – Outline Objectives
During the workday, there are many things that pull your focus away from the task at hand. Interruptions at home or meetings with your team or clients deserve your full attention but can hinder the sort of progress that only results from extended periods of deep work.
Starting your day by outlining your objectives is a great way to keep you on track between interruptions. Having a clear plan of action helps you to avoid spreading yourself too thin by multitasking, so you can stay laser-focused on your priorities.
#2 – Schedule
Having a routine is another great way to get in the habit of getting more done. Setting aside times for deep work where you won’t be disturbed is key to making regular progress on your biggest goals. Building a schedule also allows you to leverage the hours where you’re naturally more productive.
It’s a good idea to front-load the day with the most demanding, high-energy tasks for when you’re at your sharpest and save the lower-priority stuff like responding to emails and general housekeeping for later in the day when your energy is lower. Establishing this sort of rhythm allows you to more easily slip into a high-efficiency mode when it’s time to get things done.
#3 – Separate Your Workspace & Eliminate Distractions
Our living spaces are full of distractions. Whether you’re a gamer, avid reader, or musician, your space is likely full of reminders of all of the things you’d rather be doing than working. It’s helpful to remove yourself from these distractions as much as possible to make it easier to stay focused during the work day.
Having a separate space designated for work also helps to establish cues for your brain for when it’s time to work and when it’s time to relax. That way, when the workday is over, it’s easier to leave your job-related stresses at the “office”.
#4 – Actually Take Breaks While Working From Home
Sometimes the best thing we can do for our focus is to take a step back and clear our minds. Throughout the day, give yourself short breaks to stretch your legs, rehydrate, and regroup. When you’re deeply focused on the task at hand, time tends to fly and it’s easy to forget to take breaks.
The Pomodoro technique is a great tool for working in highly focused blocks while incorporating short breaks to relax so you can return to work reinvigorated. Use this timer below for 25 minutes of “deep work” in one sprint. Then take a quick 5 minute break for yourself once it’s over before jumping into the next block. Each of these 25-5 minute blocks is 1 Pomodoro.
#5 – Find Ways to Stay Connected With the Team
When working alone from home, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and the colleagues who are depending on you. Socializing with coworkers and finding ways to connect with them on a personal level can be difficult to do online, but is important for team synergy.
Try joining different channels or threads to find coworkers with common interests or share the things you’ve been up to in your personal life. These help your coworkers to better understand the kind of person you are and boost the team camaraderie which will lead to better output.
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Taylor is the Managing Editor of Notes on Design. Taylor is a graphic designer, illustrator, and Design Lead at Weirdsleep.