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The idea of working from home has quickly become more popular, and more of the norm. For some people, working remotely is the dream! Short commutes (The bed to the office next door) and more flexibility when and where you work.
But, you also have to learn how to avoid distractions while working from home, which can be hard to do if you’re new to it!
Working from home for the first time is a huge adjustment. Your productivity is probably suffering and you may find yourself watching more TV than getting actual work done. So if you’re struggling, here are 10 ways to avoid distractions while working from home!
1. CREATE AN ORGANIZED PLAN
Working from home means you don’t have a naggy boss with stale coffee breath breathing down your neck anymore.
Which is good, but it also means they aren’t holding you accountable for getting work done. Therefore, you are now responsible for keeping yourself on track.
Creating a to-do list is a great way to stay organized. Making a plan for the day will really help you stay focused and avoid distractions while working from home!
Write down your goals, plan out your day and create a checklist to follow to make sure you stay on track!
2. TAKE BREAKS
While you’re working really hard on your project, don’t forget to take some breaks as well! Some people (like me) can work for hours on a project and not notice the time slipping by!
It can be hard when you’re in the groove to stop working and take a step back. But if you don’t take any breaks, it can lead to stressing yourself out or burning yourself out early in the day.
How often you need to take a break can differ from person to person. Sometimes, even day to day depending on the tasks you are working on. But it’s still important to schedule some breaks to reset during your workday.
One of my favorite methods to make sure breaks are scheduled into your workday is by using the Pomodoro Technique! This is a productivity method where you work and take breaks for a set amount of time.
I’ve even created a productivity planner just for this method to help you keep track!
3. HAVE A DAILY ROUTINE
Just because you work from home now, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still have a daily routine to stick to. You want to treat your work-from-home job as if you were still in the office setting.
Get out of bed at the same time every day, have a morning routine, get dressed and get ready for your day. Setting a daily routine for yourself can help you stay focused and be more productive. It’s the same as if you were working in an office, just now you can create a schedule that works best for you!
If you have more of a flexible work schedule try to figure out what time of day you’re most productive and plan your day around that. What time of day do you generally feel most productive? When will all the distractions (spouse, kids or pets) be asleep or not around?
Just because you work from home doesn’t mean your day shouldn’t still have a structure. The catch here is that you get to create your schedule instead!
4. CREATE A PRODUCTIVE WORK AREA
When you’re working from home, it can be tempting to want to work anywhere around the house. Who wants to sit at an uncomfortable desk every day?
And while a change in scenery can be good for your productivity, there are some places in the house where it’s going to be hard to avoid distractions while working from home!
You should have a designated, productive working area if you really want to stay focused.
Sometimes you really need to put your head down and get some serious work done away from the family life!
Your work area, ideally, should be a quiet place without any distractions around.
If you’re lucky, and your house is big enough, dedicate one room all to yourself to be your office space. This will seriously help you avoid distractions while working from home!
It helps you create a daily routine by working in the same place, you’ll have all of your things in one place to keep yourself more organized, and it and prevents home-life (such as kids toys, dog beds ect..) from cluttering up your private workspace and distracting you!
If having your own room isn’t possible, try having some sort of space where you can keep your computer, important documents, and take phone calls if needed. Sometimes, you really have to work with what you’re given.
Make sure you also have an organized workspace, with all the desk essentials. Having a messy workspace could easily distract you or just simple hinder your productivity altogether!
5. INVEST IN OFFICE EQUIPMENT
No business goes without a little upfront investment, so it’s a good idea to make sure you have a few things you’d expect to find in a normal office.
- A reliable computer
- Reliable internet connection
- A desk or table
- A quality desk chair
- A business phone
- A decent printer
- A filing cabinet or organization system
- A whiteboard or corkboard to jot ideas down or keep important notes on (A must for highly visual people like me!)
- Other general office supplies you may need
Take advantage of any back-to-school shopping deals where you can get some of these items. Those sales can be handy for business owners with and without kids!
Of course, if you’re like me and you’re starting out with a blog, you can get away with not having a lot of these items. But, I would say the only two items I don’t have on this list are a business phone and filing cabinet because I don’t have a need for them right now!
6. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE
If you find yourself losing motivation and not being as productive as you’d like to be, that’s okay! Try stepping outside for a bit. Sometimes fresh air and a change of scenery can do you some good!
If the office or the kitchen table don’t break you out of your slump, try one of these things;
- Going to a local coffee shop, bookstore or library to finish work
- Take a walk around the block, or go to the nearest park for a break
- Go out to grab lunch on your lunch break
You can also use this tactic to get away from distracting kids or pets. Even if you just leave for a short lunch break or go on a walk. This time away can really help you focus all your energy back into work.
Can’t leave the house or go very far? If it’s nice out, take your laptop outside and sit on the porch or in the backyard. You haven’t exactly left home but I find myself most productive in a sunny and warm environment. Which is why my desk is right next to a huge window!
7. UNDERSTAND WHAT DISTRACTS YOU
What is going to distract you once you sit down to work? If you know that you hate having dirty dishes in the sink, finish those before you sit down to work. If you’re worried about what to have for dinner, create a meal plan. Figure out exactly what you’ll be cooking for dinner so there’s no need to think!
Eliminate distractions before you start working and you’ll have nothing else to focus on but the task at hand!
8. PLAY SOME BACKGROUND MUSIC
This can work for some, but not for others. It can also depend on the task you are working on.
Don’t listen to music if you’re doing something that requires concentration, like responding to a work email or writing a blog post. Whatever requires you to give it your full attention, you may want to switch the music off.
But if you’re doing something that takes a little less thought, it may be beneficial to put headphones in and jam out to your favorite songs!
If you find yourself singing and dancing more than working though, that is the opposite of avoiding distractions- it’s creating one. In that case, try putting on music that you don’t know the words to, or find music that doesn’t even have words!
9. STOP SCROLLING
Social media is a huge distraction to me, as it can be for many others. It’s way too easy to “check your notifications” and before you know it, you’re 20 weeks down your ex’s, brother’s, new girlfriend’s Instagram feed (It’s a thing). To put an end to your Instagram stalking, make sure your phone is not a distraction.
Some people recommend keeping your phone off, or even in a totally different room. However, personally, it would drive me crazy not to have my phone within arms reach.
Even if I’m not paying attention to my phone, I need it near me. So what I do is turn on Do Not Disturb mode. This allows my phone to only go off for important texts or phone calls. After that, I turn it on vibrate and place it face down behind my computer or out of view.
That way if I need it or I’d like to take a break, I can still reach it pretty easily. But when I don’t want to be distracted, it’s out of my view. It really works for me, and I can go for many hours without my phone as a distraction now!
Find a way that works best for you and use that method every single time you sit down to work.
10. USE OTHER TOOLS TO STAY ORGANIZED
Even though I love making everything digital, for me there is nothing else like good old fashion pencil and paper. I have a notebook by my side at all times. That way while I’m working I can jot things down.
I write my to-do lists on paper, my goals, and sometimes plans on paper. I may go back and digitalize it later, but most of my stuff (minus most blog posts) starts out handwritten.
Recently, I’ve started making plans on my whiteboard and it has made such a big difference in the amount of work I get done!
You can use anything that you prefer to use, such as a
As long as it helps you stay organized, that’s all that matters!
Working from home, though many people like to believe it will be glorious, can actually be a really difficult challenge to overcome.
At home, there are plenty of distractions! It can take some time to get used to the brand new work environment. The good news is, it gets easier with time and there are many things you can do to avoid distractions working from home.
What methods do you use for keeping focused? Let me know in the comments below! And if you liked this blog post, check out these next!