As I've stated before, like it or not, the workplace is changing. As millennials continue to place value on experiences and express a need for work/life balance, we will see more of the disappearance of the traditional 9-to-5 office setting. Instead, you will see many instances where employees are given the option to work from home or remotely. You'll also see that many will opt for not working with just one company, but instead working with multiple companies in what everyone is calling the gig economy. This new way of working can be a gift and a curse because, on one hand, you have freedom and are not stuck to an office. On the other hand, this newfound freedom may decrease your productivity. So how do you stay focused while working remotely? The following are my top five tips:
1. Show Gratitude
Oddly enough, the work environment puts you in the mood to work. Because of the structure and design, most people don't have to convince themselves to start their work once they're in the office. When working remotely, it may be a little more difficult to set the right mood, especially if you would rather be doing something else. Make sure that you are not in the "I wish I didn't have to work" mindset. Start the day by showing gratitude in general for waking up, for your health, and for your ability to bring in an income. Exercise if you can, build up your endorphins, have a hearty breakfast, quiet your mind, meditate, or pray. Getting you into the attitude of gratitude helps alleviate the risk of being unmotivated and uninspired.
2. Set and Stick to a Schedule
Since you are not confined to traditional hours or a traditional office, make sure you don't just wing it. Time goes by really fast, so if you don't structure your time accordingly, you can look up and not have accomplished much. It is important that you set and stick to a schedule. Whether you decide to work eight hours straight through or break it up into different segments of the day, it is important that whatever time you have allocated for work is dedicated to just that . . . work! Make sure that your work schedule matches with your natural schedule as well. If you do your best work in the morning, set up work time to coincide with this. If you work better at night, allow your schedule to fit accordingly.
3. Remove Unnecessary Distraction
As a society that feels that it needs to be plugged in at all times, it's easy to lose focus on social media, picking up the latest headlines, or simply interacting with your Facebook friends. That's why it's important to turn off your phone when you need to work without distraction. Create a schedule for when you will check your email. Shut off any notifications you have on your phone or computer to assure that something unimportant doesn't sidetrack you. If possible, shut off the internet. Removing unnecessary distractions will allow you to stay focused and productive while working remotely.
4. Choose Your Music Wisely
Your mood can be influenced by many things: TV, the weather, and what you ate for breakfast are just some examples. Music also has a big influence on how you feel. If you decide to listen to tunes as you work, make sure that you choose sounds that are uplifting and keep you positive.
5. Set Boundaries For Your Family and Friends
Make sure that you are not scheduling your work time around social or family obligations. However, also make sure that you are setting boundaries for your family and friends so that they do not become an obstacle to your work productivity. Letting your family and friends know your work schedule is imperative to avoiding any conflict or temptation.
Luvleen Sidhu is the president, cofounder and chief strategy officer at BankMobile, the largest and fastest growing digital bank in the country helping the underbanked, millennials, and middle-income Americans have an affordable, effortless, and financially empowering banking experience.