Working from home is excellent. That is until you get distracted. It seems like just as soon as you get into the work mode something pops up that needs to be done. Some of the worst things about working from home can be the long list of other things you feel you should be doing.
There are always dishes to be finished, laundry to put away, and a dog continually begging to be walked. Needless to say, distractions are a way of life for the remote worker. Limiting these distractions and keeping your attention focused on work is one of the main goals in any remote worker’s day. You have to work hard to accomplish things promptly. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be harder than you think.
1. Turn off the TV
Netflix and Hulu are out to get you. Although it’s been proven that white noise can help concentration, having the television on while you’re attempting to work can be incredibly counterproductive. It tells your brain that there is something else it could be doing, this is the opposite of telling your mind to be productive.
Instead, you could invest in a white noise machine, turn on a loud fan, or play some classical music. (Remember that music with lyrics can also be distracting so try to avoid it.)
Headphones are also a good idea to listen to your classical music if you decide you need some background noise. Not only do they help to block out other distractions, but they send a clear message to anyone else in your home that you are busy working. Buying some high quality, noise canceling headphones can’t hurt.
2. Communicate with your housemates
You have to be very clear to the people in your home that you are working. Develop a system of communication so that they know when it is okay to interrupt you, and when it is not. This can be particularly important if you live with small children. Set time limits so that it is abundantly clear when you are free to talk, or when you need just a few more minutes to wrap some things up.
3. Close the door
By putting yourself into a space that is made for work, you are telling your brain to focus. Additionally, closing the door indicates to everyone else in the home that you’re busy too.
4. Put on pants
One of the perks about working from home is definitely the ability to work in your pajamas, but if you’re finding it difficult to concentrate, one fix might be just to get dressed. It will trick your brain into remembering what it was like when you had to be up and out of the house for the workday.
5. Use a timer
You might need to break the day up into small segments to maximize your ability to focus on tasks. Use your cell phone, your microwave, your alarm clock—whatever you have available to set timers for manageable goals.
Tell yourself: “I’m going to complete this task in the next 10 minutes and then I can take a break for a cup of coffee.”
6. Put away your personal phone
One of the biggest distractions can be your own phone. If you find yourself taking personal calls, responding to text messages, or mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, it might be time to put it away to get down to business.
7. Make yourself a checklist
Checking things off a list is a real motivator and a great way to increase your focus on a task. If you can visually see what needs to be done, you are less likely to let outside things distract you from your goals.
Eliminating distractions is not easy, but if you’re able to take small steps toward increasing your focus, you’ll see significant gains in your productivity.