When I first started working from home one day a week, I was a whole bundle of excitement. I could start at whatever time I liked, finish when I deemed fit and I could even write wearing my pj’s with the cat on my lap.

But, that’s where the fantasy ends.

The reality is, for the highest level of productivity I am best to get “ready” and set up a focused area and time slots to get tasks completed. This is because regardless of the isolation, working from home can also make it difficult to set boundaries.

Alongside this, working from home can allow anxiety to fester and become greater than necessary, with an increasing pressure to prove productivity. This is tougher to validate in some roles when working from an external location; in other cases, working from home can be seen as a blessing. Allowing you to be fully focused, in an environment with few distractions.

Here are my tips for a productive working environment:

*Keep your home tidy – If everything is tidy and in good order, the level of distractions are reduced as you won’t be tempted just to “empty the dishwasher“. Although from time to time, this serves as a healthy distraction.

*Get ready – As I’ve said above, I don’t work in my PJ’s as I feel unproductive and lazy. On the other hand, I don’t wear a suit at home but my making an effort I remind myself of the division between professional and slob.

*Spend more time on self-care – Take a walk at lunchtime (if this is actually possible) – or spend 5 minutes stretching, yoga, meditating, fussing an animal or just relaxing with your thoughts away from the computer.

Working From Home When You Struggle With Mental Health...

*Avoid Social Media/The News – I actually uninstalled Instagram today, because I needed as few distractions as possible. If I get stuck into liking pictures, reading articles or replying to messages, I only get behind which makes the situation worse.

*Focus on gratitude – For many of us (myself included), the current situation is going to have a negative effect financially. Whenever I feel money anxiety creeping in, I focus on the following: 1) I have a home 2) I have food to eat, even if we end up being limited 3) I have a job to do 4) I am loved and I have people to love 5) This too will pass 6) The best things in life are free.

*Use any extra time to do those jobs you’ve been avoiding – Then ride the high that follows once they have been completed – Go you!

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Katie x

How to look after your mental health/focus when working from home