Shiny object syndrome, ever heard of it? It is real when you’re working from home.
Seriously, who wants to buckle down and get the tasks done when you can binge-watch your favorite show on Netflix? Or, you tell yourself that it’ll only take a minute to do a load of laundry or unload the dishwasher. It’s only just a minute, right?!
The reality is that avoiding distractions like these is the only way to focus and create a productive work day.
Check out these 7 ways to avoid distractions when working from home so you can create the most productive workday possible.
1. Establish a Schedule
When you’re working in an office, you know you have to wake up and be out the door at a specific time to make it to your office when your day begins. Why should it be different just because you work from home?
The best way to avoid distractions and be productive when working from home is to set a schedule and stick to it.
Wake up at the same time each work day. Go through the same routine (shower, coffee, breakfast, and be at your desk by 9 a.m.). While you have the power to create your own schedule, create one you’ll stick to just the same as you would if you were going into an office.
2. Have a Dedicated Work Space
In an office, you typically have an office with a door or a desk and computer. You have a dedicated space to set up and work for the day.
Have the same setup at home. A dedicated space helps you get into work mode and avoid distractions.
It might be a table in the corner of your dining room or a desk in a spare bedroom. The type of space doesn’t matter as long as it’s a dedicated space so you can focus, organize, and maintain everything you need to do your job – a computer, notebook, charging station, or other supplies.
3. Avoid Chores and TV During Working Hours
You wouldn’t be able to watch TV or do a load of laundry if you were working in an office, so don’t do these things during working hours when you’re working from home.
Treat your working hours for what they are to do – work. That’s it. Make it part of your morning routine to watch your favorite show or start the laundry before work. Unload and reload the dishwasher when your workday ends instead.
Believe me, focusing on one task at a time will save more time in the long run (and keep your blood pressure down).
4. Block Your Schedule
It doesn’t matter if you keep a paper calendar or an electronic one. Block out times on your schedule for tasks that need doing. For example, block 30 minutes in the morning, at lunchtime, and at the end of the day to check email and voicemails.
Rather than go down the rabbit hole of emails or messenger, take control of your time by only reading and responding to messages during the times you have blocked off for this.
You can also automate many client communications and email processes, such as sending an automatic email when a client books a service or time on your schedule. The automated email may be as simple as a thank you or include the steps they need to take to prepare for your service or meeting.
You can block other tasks on your calendar so that you only focus on the task at hand during that blocked time and nothing else.
Also, by blocking off time, you are giving yourself a designated amount of time to complete the task which means no more lingering on phone calls or taking 20 minutes to make the perfect bow when packaging items. This will help you be more efficient with your time.
Be sure to block off break times.
Take a 10-minute walk outside to refresh or a 30-minute lunch break, but stick to your schedule. Avoid having a 10-minute walk outside turn into a 2-hour gardening session when you’re supposed to be working.
5. Turn Off Your Phone (Or at Least Turn Off Notifications)
Cell phones are huge distractions when they are pinging you every two seconds with notifications of a new email or a Facebook post. Either turn your phone off or turn the notifications off during your working hours.
You can also set most phones to “Do not disturb” or “Focus” status for certain hours of the day, which is a great way to avoid getting distracted.
6. Family and Kid Activities
Ensure your significant other and kids have planned activities out of the house (or at least away from your work area) during the work hours you have set. Kids should be in school, daycare, enrolled in activities, or being cared for by someone else so you can focus on work and not be distracted by noise or caring for them.
Set ground rules for everyone in the house when you’re working. Should they knock before entering or avoid having a dance party in the living room while you’re working in the dining room? Whatever the rules, set parameters for your family during your work time.
7. Implement a Workflow Management System
Create a workflow management system so that you manage your time efficiently and effectively. 17hats features a time management system so you can automate your workflow.
You can add tasks, even recurring ones, to your calendar and to-do list. The to-do management system automatically prompts your to-do list to stay organized and on track.
The 17hats Dashboard automatically populates with important dates, tasks, and activities that need your attention so you can stay focused, never miss anything, avoid distractions, and have a highly productive workday – every day. You already know you have to avoid distractions when working from home. Now you know how to avoid distractions when working from home.