Dealing With Distractions When Working from Home


One of the things that can make working from home difficult is dealing with distractions – many people think that because you work from home, they can call you or come by whenever they want to.  But distractions and interruptions can seriously cut down your productivity.  How do you deal with distractions and interruptions so you can stay focused?  This blog post will answer that question.

If possible, set up a dedicated work space – If your family sees you working at a regular place every day, that will drive home to them that you’re working.  If it’s not possible to set up a dedicated work space, let your family know that no matter what, you’re not to be interrupted when you’re working unless it’s an emergency. In case an emergency does come up, if you’re a freelancer see if there’s someone that can do your work for you, or if you work on the phone, contact your supervisor and let them know the situation.  And do your best to keep everyone up to date on when you’ll be able to come back to work.

Set up a schedule and stick to it – Whether you try to get all your work done at once, or work in small blocks throughout the day, be sure to stick to the schedule you set for yourself as much as possible. When people know there are certain hours you can’t be disturbed because you’re working, you’re less likely to be interrupted.

Do not return texts or calls until you can take a break – Though it can be tempting to return texts or calls right away, doing so can disrupt your momentum, so don’t return texts or calls until you take a break.

Set boundaries with yourself – This can be difficult, because a lot of things that can be distracting may also be necessary for your work.  For example, Facebook and other social networking sites can be a distraction – however it may also be necessary for you to use these sites to keep in touch with clients or colleagues, or to promote your business if you run a business from home.  Luckily, there are several programs that can help minimize these distractions.  If you’re a writer, the programs WriteMonkey, WriteRoom and Darkroom black out your screen so all you see are the words you’re typing.

Distraction busting applications that all freelancers can use include Think, a Mac program that blacks out your screen, except for one application of your choice. You can control how opaque the backdrop is, and you can switch to another application when you need to.

Another good program for all freelancer is RescueTime – this program doesn’t block out distractions, but it can show you how much time you’re spending on work-related tasks or programs vs. non work-related tasks or programs. That way you can figure out ways to be more productive.  You can download RescueTime to your computer, and you can also download it to many phones and tablets.

Another good Mac program which may be helpful for people who don’t have to use the Internet extensively for their work is Freedom.  This program disables networking on your computer for a specific length of time that you set.

These are just a few suggestions for how to deal with distractions when working from home.  If you have any other tips you’ve used I’d love to hear them!


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