Working From Home and Avoiding Distractions: How to Find Silence
Since COVID-19 erupted back in the spring, distractions and disruptions have become even more omnipresent than they were before. A growing contingent has had to jointly navigate around interruptions while working remotely, whether from family members working in the same domestic space, or outside annoyances from construction, traffic, and lawnmowers. As a result, it has become imperative to productivity as well as mental health and well-being to identify opportunities for tranquility breaks amidst the commotion.
“The skills we need to be productive and innovative at work include creativity, problem-solving, and an openness to keep learning,” explains Rasmus Nanhed, global head of sales for Framery, a Finnish-based manufacturer of pods and soundproof quiet spaces. “These skills are very demanding of the brain, which is why we need to find ‘brain-friendly’ ways of working and really make an effort to include moments of quiet and peacefulness into our workdays.”
Nanhed points out that this goal of intentional silent breaks has become especially important navigating the unique challenges of work-from-home jobs. If you want to accomplish deep work and complete focused projects, then quiet places and private spaces are essential. Since distractions will always exist regardless of where you are working, finding solutions to alleviate noise concerns and promote an environment in which to effectively focus has become a constant need.
The good news is, you can leverage strategies to achieve moments of peace during your workday—regardless of where you are working and who is there with you or near you. Consider these tips from Framery about how to create a peaceful setting to work smart through silent solutions.
Distinguish Multiple Work Zones
Traditional office settings generally rely on each individual having one specific area—their desk, office, or cubicle—to get their work done. Successfully working from home allows for greater flexibility of workspaces and allows you to designate specific areas to do different types of projects in. For example, you might designate an outdoor space on your patio for reading briefs and use a quieter room with a door for writing reports. You also might designate a corner in a bedroom to do focused work if most of the action—such as team calls and video chats—happen in your main living space during the day.
According to Framery, by creating different areas you can escape to in order to get work done, you have more flexibility if distractions arise. Whether it be your children watching TV too loudly or a spouse who is constantly on calls, having more than one option of where to retreat to and work helps drown out the unwanted noise in your home environment.
Schedule in Household Quiet Times
Framery also recommends figuring out a schedule that identifies quieter times in your household so that you can work in greater silence and solace. You can achieve this by setting aside time when you know you need total silence.
The company recommends that you identify the slew of common disturbances you experience while working at home—and the time at which you generally experience them—so that you can try to schedule your work around that. Having quiet time to think while you work rather than trying to plug away during household hubbub can result in a more productive and happier work-from-home experience.
Tune into Your “Biological Prime Time Card”
Framery also advocates for employees to have a resource that they like to call a “biological prime time card.”
“This helps you recognize when you’re the most productive, as well as the times in which you might require downtime and moments of quiet and relaxation,” Nanhed said.
Framery uses an actual card for this, which designates a biological prime time of morning (early bird) or afternoon (night owl). The Biological Prime Time Card asks employees to think about which area they will hone in on in the morning: focused work (defined as “Your prime-time, for the best work possible”), or smaller tasks (defined as “Day-to-day stuff, taking care of the mundane.”) The same question gets asked in the afternoon. Presumably, if you’re an early bird and feel the most alert and energetic in the morning, you’d want to do your focused work early in the day and save smaller tasks for the afternoon and evening when you have less brainpower flowing. If you’re a night owl, then you’d reverse the pattern.
The Biological Prime Time Card also encourages you to set “Pomodoro tasks” to work in 25-minute increments with longer breaks after four Pomodoros. The card also has you identify your favorite places to work and brainstorm break ideas so that you’ll have them handy to refer to.
While acknowledging that everyone’s situation is different and that there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer to finding moments of silence in your work-from-home setup, Nanhed recommends integrating break-time activities into your daily work schedule. He explained these might include going for a walk in the park or your neighborhood, laying down in your room with a fan on, or even placing earplugs in while you read about something non-work related.
“When you include breaks and moments of silence like these in your schedule, you’re ensuring that you’re looking after yourself and your own physical and mental well-being,” says Nanhed.
Silence is Golden
Even the most outgoing workers can benefit from a little quiet time to focus on tasks and get work done. And while everyone’s home may have become the new “co-working space,” working from home without distractions is critical for your success. Take some time to identify where and when you work best can go a long way toward improving your productivity.
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By Robin Madell | September 4, 2020 | Categories: Work Remotely