5 skills to focus on while working from home this winter
The winter months can feel long, dark, and isolating. And with many of us working from home indefinitely it’s important to find ways to stay motivated and productive when you don’t have the everyday interactions of the office. We take a look at five key skills you can focus on while you’re working from home this winter.
You might not have the usual office distractions of coffee breaks and catching up with colleagues when you’re working from home but there are still plenty of things to interrupt your concentration.
Focusing on improving your concentration is essential to being more productive and staying motivated in the winter. To start with, organise your desk space so that it’s easy to keep tidy, with nothing that takes your attention away from work.
Keep a notepad and pen close by and write down any errands or non-work related thoughts that crop up during the day so that they don’t distract you and you can deal with them later. Get into the habit of taking half an hour at the end of each day to clear up and do any little chores that you’ve thought of in the day so that they don’t start to pile up.
Meditation practices such as mindfulness and breathing techniques can also help with improving your concentration. Mindfulness is designed to help you pay more attention to the present. The idea is to become more aware of your thoughts and feelings in that moment and worry less about past or future things. By learning to focus your mind you should be able to improve your concentration.
Breathing techniques can also be helpful for dealing with stress and refocusing your mind when you’ve got lots going on.
Getting outside and doing some exercise will also make a big difference to your focus. It’s another way to relieve stress, and fitting in a run or workout in the morning will make you less likely to switch off half way through the day.
If you’re not in the same office or building as your colleagues, it’s really important that you’re able to communicate effectively with them.
Working from home involves a lot more emails and instant messages, so spend some time focusing on your written communication skills over the winter. Brush up on your spelling and grammar, and even look at widening your vocabulary so you can communicate more clearly with your coworkers. Reading books is a great way to improve your language skills, plus it’s good for taking your mind off work at the end of the day and unwinding so that you can get a better night’s sleep.
Working from home often makes it harder to resolve problems that arise. It’s not as easy to quickly grab one of your colleagues for five minutes and get their opinion or advice. So to stop small problems from becoming bigger blockers to your day you should focus on your problem-solving skills.
Whether it’s completing a jigsaw or solving a Rubik’s cube — try to do something that challenges you and keeps your mind sharp. As little as 10 minutes each day filling in crosswords or even playing solitaire (or similar games) will help improve your problem-solving skills and keep your brain engaged.
4. Time management
When you’re working from home without colleagues or managers keeping an eye on you it’s your responsibility to make sure you stay focused and on-task.
Being able to successfully manage your own time is a valuable life skill. And as most people have started to settle into working from home for the foreseeable future and the winter months mean dark mornings and gloomy afternoons, it’s easy to lose some of that time management motivation and let the day slip away.
Experiment with different time management methods to find one that works for you. For example, try out the Pomodoro technique where you pick a task and try to get as much done as possible in 25 minutes. Then have a short five-minute break and start on another 25 minute work session. This can help you to focus and stay motivated while avoiding distractions like checking emails.
5. Healthy cooking
Cooking might not be a skill that’s specifically relevant to your job but eating well through the winter months will help you to stay fit and healthy, plus it’ll also improve concentration and productivity.
It’s easy to get a bit lazy with your cooking, but ditch the takeaways and microwave meals and teach yourself to cook balanced meals from scratch. Challenge yourself to make one new recipe each week and incorporate more fruit and vegetables into your diet.
It’s easy to fall into bad habits and feel your productivity slip when you’re working from home. Focusing on these skills will help you to stay motivated and achieve your goals at work and outside of work.
Stevie Nicks is Digital Editor at Just Another Magazine – a website that covers the topics you care about.
Find a life coach offering Career Coaching
All coaches are verified professionals.