How To Avoid Distractions When Working From Home
Working from home— for many, it’s the dream.
You can work entirely to your own schedule, you don’t have to dress to impress, and there’s no nightmare commute during rush hour.
Whilst all of that is true, the reality is that it can be much harder to discipline yourself to be productive when you work from home.
Distractions. They’re everywhere.
There’s housework and it needs to be done, so if you can just get it out of the way, then you can finally be productive.
Oh, but now the dog wants your attention. A quick walk and he’ll settle, then you can get to work.
Wait— a new season of Queer Eye just dropped on Netflix? It’s tempting because your sofa, snacks and Netflix are all right there…
You get it.
When you work from home, there is truly a plethora of distractions just waiting to pull you away from your projects and looming deadlines.
So, what exactly can you do to avoid those pesky distractions and just get to work when you work from home?
Set up a designated workspace.
If there’s one thing you need when you work from home, it’s a designated workspace.
For me, it’s at my desk in our spare room, which I’ve converted into an office space that literally makes me feel productive when I walk in.
I tried for so long to make do just working from the sofa, but the lines started to blur between working and relaxing.
And, honestly? It was far too easy to just take a nap.
Though perhaps having a desk setup just isn’t feasible for you. But for me it’s my desk, for you it could be your dining table or your sofa.
My point is this— make the most of a space, any space, in your home that makes you feel comfortable and productive.
Make it your designated work area and have some discrepancies between your work and relaxation time.
That way, it can still kind of feel like going to work, and you’ll quickly notice an increase in productivity.
Plan out your day.
Having a plan for each day is absolutely necessary if you hope to make working from home work for you.
If you don’t plan ahead, then you really just open yourself up to the plethora of distractions.
Without a plan, what’s really stopping you from watching one more episode?
Nothing. Nothing is stopping you, because without a plan, you have no focus.
So, start your day by making a to-do list. Allocate time for each task, prioritising the most important in a way that works best for you. For example, I like to get the most pressing tasks out of the way first thing in the morning and in the early afternoon. That way, I give myself plenty of time to get them done, meaning I can finish my work days doing some of the fun work, or at least something less demanding.
Allocating time for each task is important for me, as it stops me from spending too much time on one thing and neglecting something else.
But, do keep in mind that what works for some, may not work for others— so it’s about carving out a plan that works for you.
Whether you’re starting your working day at 5am or 5pm— plan it out.
Take regular breaks.
I cannot stress the importance of this enough.
While it sounds like a great idea to fire through your to-do list— the reality isn’t so great.
You’re not going to get everything done quicker and therefore have more time to binge-watch your current favourite Netflix show.
Instead, you’re gonna get a one-way ticket to a burnout.
So, be sure to set aside 15-30 minutes every few hours to allow yourself to get up, wander around, check social media, or do some yoga.
Taking regular breaks also helps to alleviate the temptation of within-reach distractions, like Instagram on your phone.
When it’s time to get back to work, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to tackle the next thing on your to-do list.
Change up your scenery.
Some days, the distractions at home just can’t be ignored.
Whether it’s your family, the mess, or your bed that looks particularly inviting that day.
So, what do you do on the days when you feel extra distracted?
You change up your scenery. You take your laptop and you get out and about.
Okay, I’ll admit— it’s technically not working from home, but it’s the same idea.
Whether it’s a coffee shop or otherwise— find somewhere to sit and reign in your focus (and do a little bit of people-watching).
Sometimes, a change of scenery is all it takes. You could make it a once-a-month thing, to give your productivity a regular refresh.