The biggest challenge of working from home is actually managing to beat all the distractions and remain productive throughout the day. First of all, there’s a reason why conventional offices are designed the way they are.
At home, you have family and roommates to distract you. Moreover, some of your friends and relatives won’t take your work so seriously and might contribute to this list of distractions.
Then again, everything in your home is designed for your own leisure, which means that everything is there to distract you. Here are some tips and tricks on how you can efficiently fight these distractions while working from home.
5 Ways To Beat Distractions While Working From Home
1. Organize your work time
The first thing you should do when working from home is to organize your work hours. First of all, keep in mind that being able to pick your working hours is both a blessing and a curse.
You see, if you pick odd working hours, chances are that you’ll be working during the time when everyone else is at home. This can be quite problematic for several reasons.
First, it can be quite demotivating. Second, it means that your social circle will be available and willing to chat.
This will add to the already impressive number of distractions that you’re facing. So, getting up early for work (even when working from home), doesn’t seem like a bad idea, after all.
Have a talk with your family and friends. Try to explain that just because you’re at home, this doesn’t mean that you’re available. This is not an easy thing to convey, especially to someone who has never worked this way before. So, try to be as compassionate as possible and give your best to explain your situation and the dilemma.
However, make sure to stick to your working hours. You can’t expect them to tiptoe around your home office the entire day. Remember, it’s not just your workplace, it’s their home, as well.
Wrap up: While it is true that you have the privilege of choosing your own business hours, sticking to the traditional model can help reduce distractions. Also, you need to talk to people you’re living with and explain the peculiarity of your situation to them the best you can.
2. Prepare the workspace
In order to achieve maximum efficiency, you need to ensure that the room that you’re using for work (your home office) is optimized for work.
The first thing you need to do is pick the right room. Ideally, you would pick the room facing the backyard and not one facing the street. This way, you will reduce the amount of noise caused by the traffic.
If you’re an early riser, you might want to pick the room facing east. This way, you will get the most natural light. Natural light is not just a functional improvement but also a great boost for your morale and inspiration. In order to control this light at your own behest, you need to install some double blinds.
The room also needs to be painted in the right color. According to the psychology of colors, colors yellow and light green are the most inspiring, which is why they’re quite efficient for those doing the creative work.
Red is an aggressive color but it also helps energize the users. So, if you’re working in sales or something as competitive, it might be a solid idea. Both the lighting and color scheme of the room can drastically help in getting you in the mood for work.
Wrap up: The position of the room is pivotal for the amount of light and the amount of distraction you get from the outside world. The color of the room can help set you in the mood for work, thus making distractions less effective.
3. Reduce noise distraction
Noise is one of the biggest distractions in the workplace. It prevents you from focusing or, at least, giving the task that you’re currently at its 100%. We’ve already talked about having the talk with your family and picking the most remote spot for your office.
Still, this isn’t 100% effective, either. Sometimes, you need to take the matters into your own hands and try to reduce the noise by other means.
For instance, you should get yourself a headset with noise-canceling properties. This way, even if your logistical measures and negotiation tactics fail to give a result, you can still get the desired effect.
Keep in mind that a lot of noise comes from the hallway in front of your room. This can be true even if your inhabitants do their best in order to stay quiet. How does this happen? It’s easy – foot traffic. So, how do you reduce it?
One of the simplest and most cost-effective methods (although not the most frugal), is to buy a runner rug for this hallway. This will drastically reduce the level of noise caused by foot traffic in front of your office and make it easier to focus on the task at hand. For those with tad bigger budgets, soundproofing the room may be the most effective.
Wrap up: Fighting noise is a difficult task that can be handled in three ways. First, you talk to your inhabitants and move your room. Second, you invest in noise-canceling hardware. Third, you secure the area right outside of the room.
4. Reduce distractions in the digital environment
One of the biggest problems of working from home (working from your personal devices) lies in the fact that all your bookmarks, movies, games are just a click away. Chances are that your entire search history is there to distract you.
Let’s face it, as soon as you click on the address bar and enter any letter, the list of suggestions will pop up and it will, most likely, contain at least one link that will cause a distraction. So, how do you handle this?
It’s quite easy actually – you make a new Google account and use it exclusively for work. Ideally, you would get a whole new device for work but this method tends to be quite expensive.
Another thing you can try to do is pick time-management software. Sometimes, the essence of the problem lies in the fact that you’re completely unaware of how much time you waste on various menial tasks. So, once you install the right software, you will start keeping better track of these processes.
Once you get more insight into this, it will serve as a powerful motivator. For instance, if you learn that you’ve spent 3 hours on YouTube yesterday, you will think twice before clicking on the YouTube bookmark tomorrow. The first step in avoiding a trap lies in knowing that there is one.
Wrap up: Digital environment is filled with distractions of all sorts. To avoid them, you should make a new Google account just for work. This way, you will have no search history or bookmarks to distract you. Finding great time-management software can also prove quite effective.
5. Interval working
The concept of interval working is quite an interesting notion. It allows you to reorganize your work hours and spend the time you’re actually working much more effectively. The way it works is fairly simple, for instance, you work for 25 minutes and rest for the next 5 minutes.
How does this help? First of all, once you get into this mindset, it will be quite easy to postpone distractions for the break period. For instance, you come up with the idea to look up something ridiculous on YouTube.
Waiting seven more minutes to do this (while interval working) is a lot easier than just outright resisting the urge to do it (with the conventional working model).
This method can be enhanced in several ways. First, you need to have fully functional hardware (preferably with SSD) and the fastest internet available. A lot of people expect 5G internet to change the way freelancers work for good.
This will allow you to avoid the distractions caused by the delay and maximize the efficiency/productivity during the periods where you actually work. Others have managed to combine the concept of interval working with the idea of standing desks. This ergonomic concept, however, is a story for another time.
Wrap up: The concept of interval working can drastically affect the way you work. Methods like the Pomodoro Technique can be of use here. In order to get the most of it, your setup (hardware, software and broadband) need to be above-average.
The good thing about working from home is the fact that you can freely customize the entirety of your workplace. You can change furniture at your own behest and reorganize the living space.
Just remember that you’re not there alone. It’s not just your workplace, it’s also your home (and not just yours). Sure, your work is important but you need to understand that your family or roommates also have a say in the matter. So, make sure to consult them before making any drastic changes to the layout.
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Author: Emma Williams