Working from home can be a torturous thing.
It can be full of distractions, loneliness, and long spouts of lack of motivation.
For me, I am now working 5 days a week from my own office. When I used to help my Father with roofing it was such a lovely way to shake up my working week, to get outside, move around and be with another human that wasn’t a computer or social media encounter (or telephone call!). Now it is a little different, and I have had to come up with some ways to prevent distraction and loss of motivation that comes from working at home, on my own.
Here, at home, in front of a computer, can be a lonely space. You may be lucky as I am, and have a whole room or space dedicated to your work. Well, mine also has a lot of other things in it such as wrapping paper and things that need to go in the loft, but you know what I mean.
Or, you may be as I was when we moved into this home together two years ago, for 6 months. I was downstairs, in the living room, at a rather darn small desk, next to a single glazed window. In the winter. I can still feel how cold I was. As well as the distraction of working from the laptop right in front of the television.
To say I am more productive now I have my own office would be an understatement – and I am fine with sharing that. I know I work best in a focused, no distraction zone. Working from home, however, is not that simple. There will always be distractions.
- You may have a dog, that lives at home with you, and tends to need a walk or to use the garden throughout the day.
- You may have a partner who works full time, who just calls you when they want to, as they just think you are only sitting at a desk, how could a call be distracting to your work?
- Perhaps, you have a partner or friend who finishes work early and pops by during your working time. Well, it would be rude to ask them to leave while you are working. Especially if they are trying to have decent conversations with you, wouldn’t it?
- You may have a kettle, or a fridge, or a biscuit drawer (and so on) that enable you to leave your desk regularly and enjoy the feeling of moving your legs once in a while.
- You may have another person who works with you from your home office, who chats and communicates with you. This can be a lovely distraction, but a distraction nevertheless.
You are not alone.
You need to tackle these distractions when working from home, no matter how often you do it. Here’s how I do it:
- Realise that working from home is not distraction free. Let yourself appreciate that and know that there will be times away from the work that you need to carry out. You can then manage the time appropriately. Don’t be silly and expect yourself to sit at the desk for 5 hours – it just won’t happen, and you’re setting yourself out to fail. Not a good start!
- Set some breaks in your diary. You may be like me and like a schedule. If so, allow yourself a break every hour to hour and a half – your eyes and fingers will require the break. Especially if you are working at a computer screen. You’re meant to move away from your desk every hour, and have 20 minutes away from the screen. Although I cannot always commit to that length of time, I at least have 2-5 minutes! Your productivity will thank you for it.
- Share your working times with friends and family. Let them know that you are busy and cannot take calls randomly, or drop-ins. You are working. No matter what they think. I know a friend who has a “door closed” policy with her husband. If the door is closed to her office, this means that he cannot disturb her, unless it’s an emergency or to give her a cup of coffee (and a kiss I must add) and then he must leave her to her own devices. Whatever works for you, to help you prevent this distraction, needs to be put in place.
- Minimise the coffee/tea breaks – as there will be more loo breaks! You must also appreciate that if you like to drink tea or coffee, you are allowed to have time to enjoy it and make it. This is when I check my own social media for my business, you could do the same, or utilise your smart phone for other business related things that you don’t give enough time to (which is usually your own business!) – technology is a wonderful thing.
- Time away from the office. This is SO important. I was getting to the point where I felt a little stir crazy. As if I was being enclosed in this office room and hadn’t left for months. Thanks to this feeling, it boosted me to get back to networking. This allows me to get to see other humans once a week (sometimes twice!). If you are a socialite, you may need more than just one a week. Know what you need, and how much time it will take out of your business, and how beneficial it is to your business, before committing to a specific number. I’d say start with one, and work up.
These are just 5 of the ways I help myself to prevent distraction when working from home, I’d love to know yours in the comments below.