Working from home has many perks:
- more time and money otherwise spent on commuting,
- flexible schedule, and
- an opportunity to combine work and family life.
All this comes at a price – some people find it extremely hard to avoid distractions when working from home.
Switching from ‘home’ mode to ‘work’ mode is probably the biggest challenge faced by home-based entrepreneurs. If your house can be as chaotic and crazy (in a mostly fun way!) as mine, setting boundaries with yourself and your family is a must.
Here’s how successful (and productive) entrepreneurs do it:
Set work-at-home rules
Friends, family, spouses, children – all of them are able to distract you at home. In order to tame this force of chaos, set some basic work-at-home rules.
- “You can interrupt me only if it’s something important” or
- “Loud noises/music are allowed only after 5 pm.”
This is especially important if you cannot put a physical boundary between you and your family members.
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Bonus Tip: Don’t use remote working as an excuse for full-time parenting and remember to place a proper amount of childcare in charge. Trying to parent and work will likely result in poor efficiency and half of your kitchen storage emptied onto the floor!
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Follow a schedule
Having a schedule and sticking to it helps you avoid distractions at home, which are often the effects of working too hard for too long.
Allot some time for breaks and split your day in several blocks, each with specific activities ascribed to it.
For example: mornings can be devoted to responding to e-mails, early afternoons for the creative work and in the later afternoons, you can take care of your marketing and reach out to new clients.
This way you’ll have a clear idea about what to do and when to do it.
If you’re feeling extra secure, you can easily extrapolate this logic to cover your entire week – plan it beforehand and mark all important deadlines to make sure your tasks are completed on time.
Manage your communication channels
Phones, e-mails and chats are there to help you in your work, but if for most entrepreneurs, they are also very distracting.
Not to mention, sometimes you lose a lot of time trying to explain something in an e-mail when it would take you several minutes to do it in person or on the phone – you should always be careful when choosing the medium for communicating with co-workers or clients.
Use your communication software on schedule:
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- Check your e-mail only in the morning, after lunch and before unplugging from your work.
- Phones are very tricky, too – always have caller ID on and let calls go to voice mail when you’re knee-deep in a project.
- Finally, try not to make personal calls while in your ‘work’ mode – gossiping is the king of distraction when working from home!
This is where working from home becomes really difficult. With no one there to supervise you, you might see yourself slacking off in no time.
It’s important to avoid pages like Twitter or Facebook – they just suck you up and help you lose lots of valuable time.
If you find it hard to restrict your use of social media or constantly catch yourself surfing on the web instead of getting things done, try RescueTime and StayFocused – tools that block indicated websites after you spend the allotted time browsing them.
Have regular breaks
In order to stay focused all day, you need to take regular breaks.
That’s when being at home is a big advantage – you can have a walk outside or a quick strategic nap in your own comfortable bed.
Recharging your batteries is necessary to keep you going throughout your busy day. This means you won’t feel tired in the afternoon, seeking to distract yourself from work that screams for your attention.
What’s your secret?
Working from home can be difficult, but it’s really rewarding – as long as you take all the precautions to keep yourself focused, you’ll see how your productivity will blossom in the calm confines of your home.
Every remote worker has his or her own techniques for staying focused – how do you avoid distractions when working from home? Share with us in the comments.
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