While the benefits of working from home are many, there are also plenty of distractions. Here’s how to get some peace and quiet in your home office.
Even before working from home became a necessity, the WFH lifestyle was in vogue. Article upon article has touted the virtues of working on your own schedule and collaborating remotely with your team. But, now that more and more of the workforce has shifted to working from home, the problems are starting to show.
Sure, it’s nice to be able to skip the commute, spend more time with family and get some chores out of the way on your lunch break. But working from home comes with a lot of distractions, as well. Whether it’s the murmur of the TV in another room, the buzz of your neighbor’s lawn mower outside or the siren call of social media on all your devices, the home office is rife with opportunities for getting sidetracked.
To help you navigate the work-from-home lifestyle, we’ve put together a few tips for minimizing distractions and getting more done in your home office.
Schedule With Purpose
A focused workday starts with a good schedule. Rather than being stuck with the typical 9-to-5 workday, you now have the freedom to start your day when it works for you—whether that means getting up at the crack of dawn for some uninterrupted work time or sleeping in until you’re good and ready. Whatever your style, it pays to carefully consider your schedule for maximum productivity.
Start by thinking about when you naturally have the most focus and mental energy, and build your day around that period. Do you wake up refreshed and ready to go but start losing focus in the afternoon, or do you gradually pick up steam and have a burst of energy in the evening? Block off these hours for your most critical tasks.
Once you’ve decided your main working hours, start factoring in any other work- or life-related obligations you may have. Perhaps your job requires you to be available for meetings at a certain time, or you need to get your children connected to e-school every morning. Ideally, you’ll be able to get these things out of the way before or after your main work period.
Finally, don’t forget to build a couple of breaks into your workday to avoid burning yourself out. Scheduling breaks in between different phases of your day can help you mentally switch gears to work on the next task at hand, rather than trying to juggle all your commitments at once.
Use Quality Earphones for Maximum Focus
Pro musicians use custom-fitted in-ear monitors to block out deafening stage noise so they can hear only what they need to hear. But did you know that the same tech can help you get more done in the office, too? Aside from providing crystal-clear sound, Ultimate Ears earphones offer two main benefits for working at home: noise isolation and comfort.
UE CSX earphones are custom-molded to match the shape of your ears, creating a seal that’s extremely efficient at blocking out sound. With 26 decibels of reduction, it’ll be like the outside world doesn’t exist (at least, until your kids come barging in). Fitting is super easy, too—our at-home Fitkit lets you create impressions of your unique ear shape, which we use to create ultra-personalized earphones that offer superior isolation.
This personalized fit also makes UE earphones comfortable enough to listen all workday long, from your first sip of coffee to your last keyboard stroke, without ear fatigue. Because every curve is matched to the contours of your ear, there are no pressure points to cause discomfort and no chance of your earphones falling out as you headbang the day away.
Optimize Your Space
Everyone’s home office is different, but it’s critical to make yours a comfortable space that encourages focus and eliminates distractions. While your spare bedroom may not resemble an executive corner office, a few modifications should give you a little more peace and quiet.
One easy way to get some solitude is to invest in a simple door sweep to block out sound (you know, the kind meant to seal the threshold gap in drafty rooms). To dampen any noise that does get in, make sure you have plenty of soft materials to soak up sound, such as rugs, upholstered furniture and tapestries or other wall hangings.
Even the smallest noises can become annoying and cause fatigue over the course of a workday. Luckily, most of these things are easy to fix. If you still use a noisy mechanical keyboard, replace it with a quieter modern one. If you’re using a rolling office chair on a hard surface, soften it with a rug or mat underneath. And if you have any squeaky door hinges or rattling air vents, now’s the time to fix them before they drive you crazy.
Use Music Playlists To Get in the Zone
Music has the power to uplift us, inspire us, pump us up and calm us down—and it’s also great for encouraging focus in the office. Having a rotating roster of playlists ready to go can help you get more done and (maybe, just maybe) enjoy your work.
Many people find instrumental music best for work, as lyrics can subconsciously draw your focus away. Listening to music in languages you don’t speak can help, as well—if you don’t understand the words, the voice becomes just another instrument. So go ahead and jam out to some Zeuhl while you work.
Try creating multiple playlists for different “work vibes.” Ambient music and classical piano are great for easing into your day, while upbeat jazz or electronic music with a steady beat can get you in a more productive mood. For deep focus, try some hypnotic minimalist music or deep house. And of course, there’s always the old standby: lo-fi hip hop.
Working from home takes some getting used to, but if you can minimize noise and distractions, your home office can become a sanctuary of productivity. With a quiet space to work in, a soundtrack of motivating playlists and some comfy earphones to keep you company, you’ll be surprised how fast quitting time rolls around.