How to avoid distractions when working from home

If you are an entrepreneur, the chances that you will work from home before moving to a standard office are very high. This might not turn out as easy and productive as you’d expect.

Even as an employee, you may have to work from home due to flexible work hours or special arrangements with your employer. You will be disappointed if you think that not commuting to work will allow you more focus and consequently more productivity.

This type of work arrangement particularly comes with a bulk of distractions. From family, to food, TV, neighbors and so on. It is better to brace up for the challenges that come with it, otherwise, you might end up losing lots of productive hours.

How do you avoid distractions when working from home?

This is not just about time management. It is about maintaining focus and attention while working. Below are some tips to help you avoid distractions and be more productive:

1. Identify possible distractions

This is a scientific approach because science places a high premium on knowing the underlying cause of a problem. Moreover, knowing more about the cause of a problem will help you come up with the best solutions.

Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Where do the distractions come from?
  • In what form do they come?
  • How are they able to find way into your work routine?

Scenario

A common source of distraction for many work-from-home entrepreneurs are family members. These distractions may manifest in form of someone needing an answer or assistance. They often cannot understand the fact that you are at home but unavailable.

Judy Heminsley, founder of an advice blog for home workers says, ‘I asked home-based workers about their greatest distractions in a survey on my website and their response, in descending order, was family, neighbours, housework and the lure of food and drink.’

2. Use counter-measures

When you are able to identify a problem, it is half-solved. You know a family member might want to interrupt, or the kitchen and the fridge are just two steps away from you, or the TV is facing your work desk, or your neighbours burst in every minute for a chat. So, solve these distraction elements.

Put in place measures that will limit them all or at best stop them from interfering.

Family and neighbors

Let family and neighbors know that you work from home and will need to be left undisturbed during your work hours. You could use a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on your door. Strictly maintain the rules, do not break them for anyone except it is extremely important.

Food

Food is a great temptation and distraction that many work-from-home people fall for. Every break and brick wall in your work should not be an excuse to dash for snacks, coffee or energy drink.

House chores

If you beat family and food, do not be knocked down by house chores. You should not spare any of your scheduled work time for domestic tasks like washing dishes. It is easy to feel an impulse that you are at home and would not lose much by sparing little time for home chores during your work time.

3. Measure how much you avoid

You cannot quantify what you do not measure, neither can you tell how much growth you need to pursue if you do not quantify what you already have. Without measuring how much distractions you avoid, you cannot say how effective your efforts to avoid it have been.

This can be easier if you time yourself on your tasks. By taking note of your start and finish time, you could actually tell if you have spent 3 hours on a task that you should have taken just 30 minutes to complete.

The outcomes of your measurement should always point you to your next action. It will let you know whether you need to be more strict on your measure or you totally need new counter-measures.

Do you work from home? What are your strategies for staying focused? Find us on Twitter to share your workarounds.