When our whole lives seem to occur in the same small space, possibly with others trying to fit their whole lives in that same small space, too, it can be even more challenging to get great focus at work than it already is under normal circumstances. Here are our top 3 tips for staying productive while working from home.
1. Create a Ritual (and stick to it)
Start by picking a spot that’s designated for work, only. Research has shown that working in a space you associate with other activities, like sleeping, lounging, or eating, can stifle focus. This could mean moving your existing furniture around, picking an area you don’t normally use, or ordering a small table and chair to put in the corner of the room.
Next, pick a morning routine. What do you do under normal circumstances? Some people feel that commuting helps to book end their day and transition between work and home life. You can recreate this by taking a walk around the block before and after your work day. Similarly, getting dressed in work clothes can help to signal to your brain that it’s time to focus, even if that just means you’re wearing your “Zoom outfit” (A.K.A. Dress shirt on top, sweats on the bottom.) Maybe your morning routine includes the gym and Starbucks. Whatever it is, identify what helps you transition throughout your day and get creative on how to recreate those experiences while working from home.
2. Take Breaks, Avoid Distractions (Read: Stay Off Social!)
Designated breaks and distractions are different. Human ultradian rhythms generally allow for 90 minute “sprints” of focus before becoming distracted. Give yourself a designated stretch break, time to take a walk, grab a snack, or a Ted talk to listen to every 90 minutes to recharge. According to a study at the University of California Irvine, it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get your focus back after a distraction.
The reason distractions are different is that they are not controlled or accounted for. If you don’t take a designated break, you’re becoming susceptible to increased distractions (which would likely be multiple times in the same window).
3. Create Boundaries
Boundaries both with work and with home life are important. Know when to clock out from work and give yourself designated technology free times. It’s also important to have boundaries with your home life. That could mean putting a “do not disturb” sign on the door for a portion of the time you’re working each day, saving household chores until after work is done, and if you share a small space with other people, setting expectations. That could mean waking up earlier than the rest of your household to get some quiet focus time, or setting spatial expectations. (For instance: “Can you please pick an hour window that I can have this designated area to myself each afternoon?”)
Looking for luxury apartments for rent in Chicago with space for working from home? Contact us today! We are currently offering virtual tours!
For many of us, working from home is a change of pace. It can be challenging to have healthy work-life separation and a productive work environment if you live in a small space and your amenities are closed. Here are some tips on setting up your apartment to work from home.
Whether you have a studio apartment or just want to section off your living space, there are few quick and easy ways to create an additional room. You can use a tension rod to hang curtains on the exposed side of your bed to give yourself a designated bedroom area in your studio.
You can also use shelving to create a similar effect. Floating a couch in the middle of living space can give the illusion of separate rooms, as can area rugs.
Another way to create work-home separation is to give your tables different designations. For instance, if you don’t have a desk, maybe you temporarily designate your dining table as your “office space” and eat at your island. If your island or peninsula has an outlet (as is the case in many new construction apartments) you can try designating the island as your “office” during your work from home period.
You can also create separation by having your furniture face different directions. For example, try putting your desk facing a window, so you’re not looking at the rest of your space while you’re in work mode. If you have a studio apartment, try facing your bed away from the rest of your apartment.
Having separation is important for keeping routine and healthy sleep behaviors. Regardless of whether you opt to break up your space, whatever you do, don’t bring your laptop or work materials into your bed. Keep work materials out of sight when it’s time to unwind by storing them in a designated spot.
In addition to setting up your space to be work from home conducive, it’s also crucial to optimize your living situation to be distraction free, which could mean communicating with roommates or other occupants about work from home agreements. For instance, put a “Work Mode” sign on the door to your bedroom, guest room, den, or wherever you’re working. Create expectations about what it means when that sign is up. Maybe it means they need to act as if you’re away at your office and should call, text, or email you to communicate rather than coming in or even knocking. Put away your pets during zoom calls. Resist the urge to do housework in the middle of the work day.
If you’re conducting your apartment search, DAC offers virtual tours which are, as always, a completely complimentary service. For more information about virtual tours and remote showings, contact us today! We’d be happy to keep you in the Loop!
As we close in on the holiday season, it’s time to start decorating your home. If you have a small space, decorating can be a daunting task. Don’t worry—we’ve got some great hacks for decorating small spaces this holiday season.