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Your biggest productivity enemy when working from home is distractions.
Oxford describes “distraction” as a thing that prevents someone from giving full attention to something else.
Your home offers a variety of distractions that can pull you away from your work at any point, affecting your productivity.
You’ll be distracted by that pile of dishes in the sink, the kids playing in the next room, or coming in and asking for a snack, and your mom stopping by for a chat since you’re at home. Your number one goal to increase the amount of work you can do is to cut out those distractions.
Working from home is very convenient but it can also be challenging if you are easily distracted especially for work-at-home parents.
Keep Reading! These tips will help you to eliminate distractions and stay focused and productive while working at home.
Here are 7 solid tips to help you accomplish that goal:
Table of Contents
Change Your Clothes
You don’t need to put on jeans or formal work clothes, but you do need to change out of your pajamas. Get dressed in something that’s comfortable, but not what you’d wear to bed. You can still wear leggings or sweatpants, but make sure they’re your ‘good’ leggings or sweatpants. This simple change can help you transition out of relaxation mode and into work mode.
If you still find yourself distracted, then try putting on your work clothes. You might not be as comfortable, but it’s another mental signal that it’s time to get some work done. Plus, your pajamas will feel extra nice when you change out of your work clothes at the end of the day.
Stick To Your Regular Work Schedule
It can be tempting to sleep in or do some housework before starting your work day, but that can end up making it harder to transition into work mode. Rather than giving in to these temptations, start you work at the same time you would if you were going into the office. Keeping a familiar schedule and routine can help you stay focused because it replicates some part of your formerly normal working experience.
It’s easier to stay focused and not get distracted by other things you should be working on both for your day job and around the house when you have a list. First thing in the morning, or even better – the night before, make a list of what you need to get done today. Play around with the length of the list. Some people prefer a shortlist of just two or three main projects that will take up most of their days. Others are more motivated by being able to check lots of tasks off the list. Start by writing down at least five things and over the coming days, try expanding that to ten and cutting it back to your top three most important things. Pay attention to what motivates you more and reflect on when you’ve been most productive.
Shut The Door
Shut the door. Of course, there’s a little more to it than that. The idea here is to cut out internal and external distractions by keeping people out, taking the phone off the hook (or silencing it), and avoiding the temptation of getting up to empty the dishwasher when you feel like a little mental break. Instead, take a conscious break by getting up and opening the door to your office. Don’t have a home office? No problem. Pick a spot, ideally with a door. This could be your dining room, a spare bedroom, or your main bedroom with a desk tucked into the corner. Look around and make it work. A workspace with a door you can close has the added benefit of giving those around you a visual clue that you’re working, which brings us to the last tip.
If you and your spouse both work from home, try taking turns by alternating caregiving in increments of 60-75 minutes. This way, each of you gets a stretch of focused, productive time of uninterrupted work time while the other one tends to children and housework. Tag-teaming like this is the most effective method for giving both partners the best chance to maximize attention on work tasks.
However, if you’re a sole caregiver, try to treat yourself with the same grace that you would give to a friend in a similar challenging situation, and lower your expectations about what you can expect to accomplish in a day. Trying to be a caregiver during the day and then get your work done late into the night isn’t sustainable, and will ensure that soon you, those you’re caring for, and your work will all suffer.
Possible Solution: Talk to your manager about setting weekly outcomes that are realistic for your situation. The goal is that your manager is not judging you by when you work, but on the outcomes you achieve. This will allow you to make realistic commitments, and keep them.
It’s also important to set expectations early on with family and friends. Make sure they know what your working hours are and they shouldn’t call or stop by during those times. The earlier you can set those expectations the better.
Sometimes you just need to create a wall between you and your distractions. If you don’t have the space for a home office with a door, there are plenty of other creative solutions.
You can block off your workspace, for instance, by using a decorative bedsheet to create a curtain. Creating a defined workspace may not seem like much, but you’ll be surprised how effective it is. Once you can’t see the television, you won’t be as tempted to watch it.
There is no failure except in no longer trying. There is no defeat except from within, no really insurmountable barrier save our own inherent weakness of purpose.Kin Hubbard
Turn Off Distracting Media
Try to avoid engaging with all devices. It’s amazing how quickly you can get sucked into them. Even the news playing in the background can quickly suck up your attention. Similarly, you may want to block any website that you find yourself scrolling through, like news sites and social media.
All the boundary setting strategies in the world won’t help you avoid disruptions if you continue to let your electronic devices rule your mind. To this end, here are some tips to free yourself from the tyranny of email and other electronic attention thieves. Whether you’re working from home or back at the office:
- Silence Your Phone – Phone can be a goldmine of distraction. From notifications to games and social apps, our phones can pull us out of our work instantly. It’s best to utilize the “Silence” function on your phone, which will block outcalls, texts, and notifications. Worried about missing an important call? You can adjust the settings so that certain callers will still be allowed to notify you even when this setting is on.
- Turn Off Push Notifications – If you can’t bring yourself to entirely power off your devices, then set them to silent and put it out of your sight. Studies show that just having our phone in our presence is distracting. Also, disable push notifications. These are expressly designed to hijack your attention.
- Process Emails In Offline Mode – Trying to answer email in real-time is like playing whack-a-mole. Instead, set aside designated times to process email, and when you do, set your computer to offline mode so that it cannot refill during your processing time.
Take your time going through these steps. There’s no right or wrong way to approach this list.
Seven easy and simple tips for working at home. Use these tips to optimize your day to day for productivity and I’m certain you’ll see a difference.
If you want to increase your productivity even further, I have to suggest you look closely at the actions you’re taking daily. What things are you doing that can be automated or outsourced?
Download our FREE Productivity Maximizer Checklist and document your progress. Soon you’ll be organized, and you’ll feel the energy in your home or office change from frenetic to calm.