Avoiding Distractions When Working From Home

Lauren McGrath is a sales rep and blogger.  An American expat living in London with her husband, she was inspired to create her lifestyle blog Reality in Reverie by her love of writing and travel (having been to 7 countries in the past year alone).  You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter for more of her adventures, updates, and just general antics.

tips for productive working from home

Working from home - it’s the perfect gig, right?  Whether it be part-time or full-time, more and more employers are opting to allow their employees to work from home.  In fact, an estimated 70% of people worldwide work from home at least one day a week according to a recent study in Zug, Switzerland.  With the technology we have today, almost any job can be done from home.  

When talking about remote work, it’s easy to see all of the benefits that it has to offer.  There’s flexibility for those juggling work and parenthood (have you SEEN the cost of childcare?!).  It makes it easier on those who live far from the office, cutting down their commute and costs involved with that.  It also improves productivity. Most people are more productive when they are working in an environment that they feel comfortable in.  And what’s more comfortable than working at home, in your favourite sweatpants? The list of benefits goes on and on.

But you have to remember - there are downsides to working from home.  Those might come in the form of strange work hours, or perhaps reduced pay.  But the biggest downside that affects everyone working from home, regardless of what they do is distraction.  It is much easier to get distracted working from home versus in the office Which makes sense, as there are far more things to distract you from that project you have to finish, like caring for a sick child, or watching that episode of Say Yes to the Dress for the thousandth time.  

It’s important to come up with strategies that will help you avoid distractions and keep focused on the task at hand.  As someone who does work from home, here are my tips that help me get through my workday uninterrupted:

  1. Set aside a designated workspace. If you have a spare room or home office - use it to your full advantage.  If you don’t, set yourself at the kitchen table. Whatever you do, make sure your workspace is far from things like the television, or your ever-inviting looking bed.

  2. Plan out your day. I like to have a to-do list of the things that need to be done for that day.  Not being in the office means you must rely on yourself to keep things going, not your boss or coworkers, so knowing what you have to do will help you stay organized and focused.  Want to take it up a notch? Try bullet journaling to keep yourself organized AND let your creative juices flow.

  3. Have background music playing. It’s said that listening to classical music helps boost productivity massively.  Don’t fancy Beethoven? That’s fine, too - listen to whatever you like. Just make sure it’s at a low enough volume so it doesn’t take over.

  4. Have set break times every so often. Staring at a computer screen for eight hours a day is not good for you.  And more often than not, you will catch yourself trailing off, checking things like Facebook or Instagram, etc.  Have one or two set times per day designated to take a 10 or 15-minute break. Use that time to do things like have something to eat, check social media, stretch, etc.  When it’s time to continue working, you should feel refreshed and ready to carry on without the need to check how many people liked your last Instagram post.

  5. Draw the line between housework and actual work. You should have your designated work hours devoted entirely to just that.  You will, and rightfully should, have to adapt everything else around those hours as much as you can.  Of course, this will not always be the case because of so many different things that can happen. But if you know you have things to do like laundry, cleaning, or running a specific errand, plan ahead to have them done before or after you log on for the day.  If you were in the office, you would have to do that anyway, so why should working from home be any different?

I hope you find these tips helpful - share some of yours in the comments below! Read more of Lauren's thoughts on working from home over on her blog.