One of the hardest things for me (and I’m sure many others) about working from home is all of the distractions. It’s really hard to stay focused when working from home!
When you go to an office everyday you probably don’t think about the dirty dishes in the sink, the laundry that needs folding, or all of the TV shows you could be watching on Netflix.
Or, even if you do think of these things, you probably don’t for long because it’s not like you can get up from your desk and mop your kitchen floor in the middle of the day.
But when you work from home? It’s an entirely different story.
You might be crafting away on your jewelry business when you notice that the breakfast dishes are still in the sink. Normally you wouldn’t have even thought about them because you would have been far away in an office where you couldn’t see them. But now you can. And gosh, it’s really annoying. So you wash them.
And then you notice that the trash needs to be taken out, and normally your significant other does this after they get home from work, but you know, it’s right there. So you do that too. Maybe now you can get back to work–but wouldn’t work go faster with some Desperate Housewives on in the “background”?
Six hours later and you’ve only made two necklaces, but will Susan and Mike ever get back together?! Just one more episode!
Sound familiar? It’s the story of my life (except I’m normally making a blog design). Here’s what I do to help myself stay focused:
Create a schedule
I have work time and playtime, and I separate them as much as possible.
My office hours are from 7:30-5:00 with an hour and a half lunch break (during which time I do sneak in an episode or two while I work out). I schedule in times when I can take care of distractions such as dirty dishes. For example, at 10:00 am I take a break from work and get a snack. I also put the dirty breakfast dishes in the dishwasher. Bam! One distraction down.
I take another snack break at 3:00 pm and straighten up the house and take out the trash if it’s full. By scheduling in time to do these things, they don’t hang overhead during my work hours. I also know that at 5:00 pm I am going to TURN OFF my computer and put my work away, and I can watch Netflix until bedtime if I feel like it!
Psst! Since writing this post I have switched to a TEN-HOUR workweek. Learn more about how I work only 10 hours a week here!
Create a workspace
Have a designated work space and keep it as separate as possible from your personal space. If your workspace is away from your TV you’re less likely to be sucked into hours and hours of TV.
It’s also easier to focus on work when you are in a “work area” as opposed to your living room where you spend your personal time.
Having a separation helps tell your brain when you’re in work mode and play mode. Keeping you focused on your work, or keeping you focused on enjoying your life.
Close the door
If you have a workspace with a door, close it. Out of sight, out of mind. Keep those distractions out of the way and you’ll think about them less.
Closing the door is a must-do when you have other family members at home. Closing the door helps drown out conversations, TV, or whatever everyone else is doing, AND signals to them that you’re working, and not available to hang out.
Though it may take some time and repeated reminders that a closed door means you’re not available.
You may need headphones even if you can close the door, but you definitely need headphones if you live in an open-plan home like I do, where there are no doors to close!
I have a pair of noise-cancelling headphones that are a huge help when my husband and toddler are running around or dancing to Cocomelon and I need to get work done.
Even without a noisy family, headphones can help you focus and act as another trigger to your brain that you’re working, and not Netflixing.
Of course, when you work on a computer, Pinterest is only a click away. Go back to the first point and schedule yourself in 10-15 minutes of Pinterest time during your breaks. Really, it helps!
If you know at 11:00 you get to play around on Pinterest for 15 minutes, you’re less likely to randomly hop on and surf in the middle of projects.
The Pomodoro technique is a really great way to get focused work done, while getting breaks in too! Give it a try.
Take care of the distractions
Are things really driving you nuts? The laundry pile stressing you out? Scheduling not helping? Then take care of the distractions as quickly and efficiently as possible, and then sit down and do your work. You’ll focus better once the distractions are taken care of.
Sometimes I just HAVE to clean things and it doesn’t matter if I have a scheduled cleaning time for the afternoon, I want things clean NOW.
So I rearrange my schedule, knock out what’s bothering me, and then breathe a sigh of relief and get to work.
That’s one of the nice things about working from home. For the most part, it’s pretty flexible and you can adjust your schedule to work for you.