7 Distractions When Working From Home And How To Avoid Them
Learn how to avoid distractions when working off-site with these valuable work from home tips.
RELATED: How To Work From Home With Kids
In this article:
- Perks and Drawbacks of Working From Home
- Types of Distractions at Work
- How to Avoid Distractions at Work
How to Avoid Distractions and Stay Focused
Perks and Drawbacks of Working From Home
Telecommuting, or working from home, is a widespread practice nowadays. It’s convenient and offers a good alternative, whether you’re running your own business or simply working away from the office.
Telecommuting has a lot of great perks that encourage people to shift into this practice, including:
- The opportunity to work independently
- Not having to deal with the stress of working closely with bosses and coworkers
- Self-regulated working hours
- A more conducive work environment
- Not having to go through the daily commute to and from work
- More time for work and personal matters
However, there are also drawbacks to working from home full time, including:
- No paid holidays, vacation, and sick leaves
- No employee benefits like company-sponsored trips and health insurance
- Having to deal with clients who pay late
- Living on a “no work, no pay” setup
- Having no one to rely on for backup when going on vacation
Aside from these, you also need to consider the implications of telecommuting on your family life and taxes.
The reality is that before you can settle into a comfortable telecommuting practice, you need to undergo adjustments. One of the important things you need to know is how to avoid distractions when you’re working from home.
Types of Distractions at Work
There are different causes of distraction whenever you’re working from home. Not knowing how to properly deal with them can lessen your productivity and the efficiency of telecommuting.
1. Household Members
Living with other people tends to be a challenge when you’re working from home. It’s especially difficult if you don’t have a dedicated workspace and have to share a common area.
They may constantly interrupt you from working or even by just talking to you. If you’re a working parent, it may be difficult to get work done when you have to take care of your family at the same time.
2. Household Chores
Aside from household members, chores can also distract you from work. Spotting something that needs cleaning or fixing up may urge you to complete chores instead of working.
If you’re used to running the household, it can be a challenge to resist the urge to prioritize chores during your work hours. Hopping from one task to another without thoroughly completing each one makes you counterproductive and less efficient.
3. Personal Errands
Working from home means you can allot time to run personal errands. This is great because you can do things you don’t normally get to accomplish on weekends.
Yet, if you’re not careful in managing your time, errands can also consume your work hours. Ill timing can cause you to spend more time on errands than you usually would if you properly schedule your day.
4. Noisy Environment
Some people find it hard to work when there’s a lot of noise around. Unfortunately, even if you’re working from home, you can’t completely avoid this.
Your household members, appliances, and even your neighbors can all produce disruptive noise. This is one of the unavoidable things you need to learn how to deal with, as you may not be able to completely control it.
5. Responding to Work Messages
Since you’re not working onsite with your client, boss, or colleagues, they expect to reach you via phone, email, or messaging apps.
While responding to work messages is part of your job description, it’s easy to get carried away with this task, especially if you tend to overthink your responses and the messages you receive.
6. Mobile Phone Usage
Constant checking and usage of mobile phones is a habit a lot of people are already used to. While it’s true that you need to keep your mobile phone close by so you can answer work calls and messages, this can also tempt you to keep checking it.
This practice can cause you to lose focus and decrease your productivity. Distractions caused by mobile phones is a common problem among those who can’t properly control their usage.
7. Social Media
Social media browsing is another cause of distraction that a lot of people find difficult to avoid. It’s easy to get sucked into engaging with your social media accounts because of the notifications you receive.
Browsing during your breaks can also take too long if you can’t control yourself. This is a common problem, whether you’re using your mobile phone or computer.
How to Avoid Distractions at Work
Now let’s talk about the practical ways to deal with these personal distractions so you can overcome them and focus on your work.
1. Ask for Everybody’s Cooperation
Working from home means you need to balance your time between your work and your loved ones. Deliver all the tasks assigned to you, but also, make sure you’re available for your family when they need you.
To make telecommuting effective, it’s best to get your family or other household members to support you by cooperating with your working hours. Ask them to give you the time and space your work requires.
For instance, you can create a signal system that lets them know if they can interrupt you during work hours or not. Open communication is key to make this setup work.
Working from home also doesn’t mean you’re exempt from doing the household chores. Yet, the burden may be too heavy if you need to work and keep up with all the household duties.
Assign chores accordingly among members of your family or household to lighten the load. This is also a great way to teach your children basic skills they’ll be thankful for when they’re older.
2. Set Specific Work Hours
Just because you’re not working a 9-to-5 doesn’t mean your career gets to take over your day. It’s essential to set a specific schedule so you’re fully present for work, your loved ones, and other important activities.
Your job or business may require you to be accessible several hours a day, so use that as a basis. You can schedule the rest of your day based on your work hours or on the time you need for other tasks.
Having specific work hours is especially helpful when you also need to accomplish things like household chores and personal errands. Remember to schedule breaks within the day so you can maintain your focus and energy for work.
3. Build Your Own Workspace
Learn how to avoid distractions at home by building your own workspace. Having an office in a separate room gives you more privacy and helps you ignore the noise around you.
You can also increase your productivity when you have all of your work equipment in one place. This minimizes the time you spend moving yourself and your things around just to settle in a conducive environment.
If it’s not yet possible for you to have your own office room, pick a place in your house where you can set up your work area. Then, invest in effective noise-canceling headphones to block out distracting noise so you can concentrate on your job.
4. Discipline Yourself to Stay Focused
Knowing how to eliminate distractions and stay focused at work starts with discipline. This especially applies to work communication and social media browsing.
It’s easy to get distracted by the notifications that come in your phone and desktop. To avoid spending an unnecessary amount of time on these, teach yourself to immediately assess whether they need your urgent attention or not.
You can also set specific times during the day when you’ll check your email and messaging apps. To avoid getting distracted by social media browsing, it’s best to log out of your accounts during work hours.
5. Avoid Constantly Reaching for Your Mobile Phone
If it has become your habit to constantly check your mobile phone, you also have to exercise discipline to break it. Place your phone out of your sight so you won’t get distracted every time a notification comes in.
Check your phone only during breaks or when needed. Train yourself to ignore it so you can focus on important tasks.
If you believe working from home is the best option for you, don’t be afraid to give it a go! Learning how to avoid distractions may not always come easy, but when you consistently practice these work from home tips, you’ll become more productive.
You’ll experience more of the advantages this work setup brings if you resolve to discipline yourself and work around the drawbacks.
What kind of work setup do you have, and how is it working for you? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below!