5 Ways to Keep Focused While Working Remotely Over Christmas

Talking with CEO Today, Sadie Sharp, owner of management consultancy firm C Squared, helps remote workers stay on track despite Christmas distractions and temptations.

Even the most seasoned remote workers can be prone to distraction. And the temptation to do anything other than work is that much stronger over the festive period. Emails, busy social calendar, Christmas shopping: all are culprits. And for a CEO, chances are you’re going to need to be as on top of everything over Christmas as you are the rest of the year.

I personally prefer being away from the more regimented, office environment, however I have had to adapt to ensure I don’t waste any precious time and make the most of my working hours. There are no hard or fast rules for successful remote working – you must build your own style – but, there are a few methods I have found that boost productivity.

  1. Dress for success

I often find I can get more work done between 8-11am, and so I usually get up at around 7:15am and get showered and ready to begin. It’s amazing how much more you can get done when most of the working population haven’t even arrived at the office yet.

Dressing appropriately is important for me because I’m a firm believer that you will put more pride in your work if you put pride in your appearance. I think that even applies when you’re putting in the hours over Christmas when others might have booked holiday.

This doesn’t mean that you must put on your best suit to work from home, but I think if you wear a pair of joggers or a onesie to work in, you’re going to be more prone to slacking off.

  1. Get creative with your workspace

Much like the clothes you wear, the environment you’re in can impact on the quality of your work. If you have a spare room with space for a desk, then transform it into a space that inspires productivity. Let in as much natural light as you can, place plants around the room and get some photos of friends and family framed and placed around the room – whatever makes you happy.

Working from the dining table isn’t ideal. For one, it’s unlikely to comfortable, and tapping away on a laptop or tablet in an area used by family members is inviting distractions.

  1. Stay focused

It can be easy to let the noise associated with endless social media updates and emails to allow your focus to drop. I find that switching off social updates and keeping my phone out of sight can help prevent me from picking up my phone unnecessarily, and I try to stick to checking my emails at scheduled intervals throughout the day.

If you have an especially short attention span, then try downloading a productivity app such as Focus List. This software encourages you to break your work up into timed segments, with short breaks in between, allowing you to remain fresh and focused.

  1. Start a side-project

Working in a traditional office environment typically fills your day with additional tasks which can be quite time consuming, whether it’s meetings you don’t need to be in or distractions from co-workers. You avoid all that working from home. Rather than using the spare time to finish early, try being more productive and work on a side-project instead.

This could be writing that self-help book you always said you’d get around to, or perhaps mentoring a budding entrepreneur. Time is a precious commodity and remote working often gives you the luxury of more time than most.

  1. Take a break

The best thing about remote working is that you decide when and how you spend your downtime. Working alone and indoors for too long can impact negatively on your mental health, so try to find time to take a break away from your desk.

This could involve going for a jog to get yourself pumped up for more work, meeting a friend for lunch, or even going for a 30-minute power nap. Remember, you’re the boss, so you decide.

This feature was written by Sadie Sharp, owner of management consultancy firm C Squared, in partnership with Watchshop as part of their What Makes You Tick campaign.

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