Dealing with distractions when you work from home

Working from home is GREAT!  Or is it?  How do you steer clear of all those distractions when you work from home?

When you work from home, it’s going to be inevitable to have distractions, they loom everywhere. Is that the chocolate cake calling you from the fridge? And what about all those chores you’ve been meaning to get to? All of these diversions can easily get us off track and the day will slip away faster than we know it, and where did all your productivity and profits go?  

Watch out for these common distractions and take note of these useful tips to fight them off.

Distraction: The kitchen.
As you struggle with a tough work project, you manage to eat six cheese sticks, five low-fat oreos, a container of yogurt and one leftover piece of birthday cake. And you never knew you were capable of drinking so much coffee!

Prevention: Bring healthy treats into your work space to discourage frequent and fattening trips to the fridge and pantry. Use one day of the week to prep and prepare snacks, just as you would if you worked outside of the home, and set aside snacks of fresh fruit, crackers, anything you like, so that when you start your day in the morning you can just grab your snacks and tote them to your home workspace, just as if you were bringing your snacks to work.  It’s not time consuming if you set aside a day a week to prep for the entire week.  This way you don’t have to venture near the kitchen and its temptations and go back over and over again!

Distraction: Your kids.
You started working at home to spend more time with them, but you’re finding it difficult to squeeze in any productive work time. Even when you do manage to convince kids that, “Mommy needs to work now,” the interruptions are endless. You usually wind up abandoning all business tasks until the kids are in bed and then pull an all-nighter trying to get everything done. 

Prevention: Set a work schedule and consider getting some help every once in a while with child care. A regular work routine helps you set boundaries between work and family life, so that you can block out the time you want to spend with your children and keep it separate and sacred. And having some part-time child care will allow you to work uninterrupted while the kids are well supervised. Soon, your kids will learn to respect mommy’s work hours, and you’ll have plenty of planned times where you can play with them guilt free.

Distraction: Calls and visits during work time.
You’re at your desk when the phone rings and a telephone solicitor monopolizes your time with her pitch. Then, the doorbell rings, and it’s the stay-at-home mom down the block, who thought this would be a good time to come by for coffee.  Your sister emails you a bunch of funny jokes and videos to watch. 

Prevention: Learn to say no. It’s the key to guarding your work and family time. Have polite phrases at the ready to deter people from zapping your work time. For example, next time a telephone solicitor calls, try saying something like, “Thank you, but I’m not interested. Oops, I have another call coming in,” and hang up. Tell the other mom, “I’m sorry, but today’s a work day and I really must get back to my desk. Let’s get together when I’m off duty.” And if drop-in guests become a continuing problem, you may have to simply ignore the doorbell. (We know work-from-homers who avoid parking their cars in the front of the house, so neighbors won’t know they’re home!)

Distraction: Housework.
You’re supposed to be working on your bookkeeping or calling clients, but instead you’ve done three loads of laundry, cleaned out the kids’ closets, fed the dogs, given them a bath, and washed every window in the house.

Prevention: Tackle housework during non-work hours. But more importantly, get out of the super mom mindset! Who says you have to do everything yourself? Enlist family members to help with household chores. They might not like it, but it makes things run efficiently and smoothly (like your business).  Even young kids can help load the dishwasher or sort clothes for the laundry. Older children can be responsible for clearing the dinner table, taking out the garbage and collecting recyclables. Also, talk with your spouse about sharing household chores, and designate the ones each of you will be responsible for. (Thank God my husband looooooves cleaning!  Where did I ever find him?)

Distraction: The goof-off urge.
You should be working at your desk, but you’d really rather be surfing the internet for stupid videos, chatting with friends on social media, tinkering in the garden, lounging at the beach or trolling the local department store for bargains. Before you know it, you’re with stacks of unfinished work projects left behind.

Prevention: Hang “Not Now, I’m Working” signs, in tempting areas to nudge you back to your desk. If gardening is your downfall, tack one of the signs to your gardening gloves. Or tape one to the steering wheel of your car to keep you from heading the beach or mall. Also make sure that you promise to reward yourself for jobs well done! You’ll have much more incentive to finish up work tasks if you know that a bouquet of flowers, sea breezes or a new blouse is awaiting you upon completion!

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!  Do you have any good tips that help you fight distractions?  What do you do?  What helps you?  What things distract you that you need help with?  We want to hear from you…


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