Working from home is on the rise, according to the 2017 US Census. From increased work-life flexibility and employee productivity to decreased real estate costs and overhead, remote work (or "telecommuting") offers benefits for both employee and employer.
Whether you're a grad student like me, self-employed working out of a home office, or telecommuting part-time, you've encountered the benefits and the challenges of working home. Challenges like distractions.
In this post we'll talk about several distractions you may be all too familiar with, and how to help nip them in the bud.
smartphones and social media
With the world at our fingertips, courtesy of smartphones and social media, procrastination continues to be a thief of time.
We spend hours browsing the Internet and scrolling through social media feeds. We text a friend instead of answering our emails. Or answer emails instead of doing our work!
Some remote work veterans share their advice on maximizing your productivity at home, and one piece of advice always seems to repeat itself: create a separate work space at home.
Additional routine that goes with that - getting ready in the morning and getting dressed, taking your cup of coffee to your work space, and sitting down with intention can make a big difference.
While you may picture the bliss of working from the couch, kids playing in the background, laundry waiting to be folded next to you compared to a stressful commute and noisy co-workers, working from home can be much different.
If having a glass of wine or a beer is one of your regular ways to unwind, when working from home you may find that with the bottle opener within reach and no one the wiser, a drink or two will help ease the stress.
Situations like this often accumulate, and while in your mind you still have 1 glass of wine with dinner each night, if you really think it through and tally it up, you may be drinking a lot more than you think.
Picking up new habits like drinking more, and/or more frequently, can have effects on your health, through the often cited alcohol-related diseases, but also through slow and steady weight gain.
You've likely heard of the recent studies that cite "high risk drinking" as 4+ drinks in one day or 8+ drinks per week (women) and 5+ drinks in one day or 15+ drinks per week (men), or as binge drinking (4+ drinks over 2 hours for women, 5+ drinks over 2 hours for men).
While you may see the term "high risk drinking" and think - that doesn't apply to me, take a more careful look at the definition.
One glass of wine, 1 cocktail, or 1 beer each night of the week is 7 drinks per week.
An extra drink or two on weekend evenings and you've met the "high risk" category.
Even if you stay dry during the week, you can't save them up for the weekend - binge drinking isn't something only college kids do.
Having 4 glasses of wine over a 2 hour dinner is considered binge drinking.
I mentioned the "zoning out" when we check social media, or drive a familiar route, or check our phone for the time (and don't register what it is). When we do very familiar things, our brain filters out excess information because we know what's happening. Our brain puts the outside world on hold for a minute while it catches up on some file sorting. We don't need to be as sharp, listening for threats or looking for predators, so our brain goes into a hypnotic state.
Luckily you can take advantage of that brain state to do just the opposite - to focus in on your behaviors, your emotions, and your actions and use those insights to address issues like an increase in drinking.
It may sound ridiculous, but Hypnotherapy for Alcohol isn't any crazier than the idea of your drinking habits meeting a high risk definition.
You can read more about hypnosis for treating physical and psychological problems, like smoking and alcoholism, here.
Working in your own environment affords you the opportunity to assess how you work best. For the most part, you're not subject to the constraints of the office environment. You may have a conference call or video meeting, but often you can block off time in your schedule for key tasks.
I work best in the morning, and try to block off time then for more challenging tasks that need maximum brain power. When I'm leveling off in the afternoon - that's when I answer emails or do other administrative tasks.
What distractions have you encountered when working from home?
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