I started experimenting with working from home in 2016 when I was pregnant with my last child, it was not until 2017 that I fully transitioned to working from home.
Long before pandemic and the lockdown, thank God I took that decision.
I thought I had hit my Eldorado until the work from home distractions began.
I have worked in the corporate world, so I thought working from home will be a breeze, until I found out that you can set out to do some work and totally accomplish nothing at the end of the day.
When I was working in the office, I did not have my kids around me, I had no one strolling in to ask me for milk or crying about a broken toy.
Neither did I have screaming children that needed to be separated, everyone is familiar with children’s toys fight.
This became a dilemma for me because I thought working from home was going to free me from the shackles of corporate work, but here was I, I seemed to have exchanged one shackle for another.
I had to begin to figure out what to do to ensure that my new home business which I just started will not fail because I can’t seem to find time to actually do the work.
While I struggled with the kids, it was not just the kids alone, I also had online distractions.
You know those notifications you allowed without even knowing what you are doing, they are big-time wasters.
Sometimes I will set out to write a blog post and start my research only to have a notification come in and take me down a rabbit hole.
By the time I manage to wiggle myself out of the rabbit hole, it is time to make dinner or lunch, my day is half gone and I have not achieved anything.
So how did I deal with work from home distractions, and managed to build a blogging business that has replaced my corporate job?
Follow me closely as I share 6 tips.
6 Tips to Overcoming Distractions While Working From Home
Okay, this one got me right on the neck, I was never the strict planning type. I could jot down one or two things but I will not be the one to sit down and make a complete plan on how my day will go.
That was one of the first things that hit me hard, while I could plan out my work in the office, in my home I did not seem to have an idea on how each workday should go.
This meant that even if I had in mind to do any job that day, I was not clear in my mind what it was and so my day started without a clear cut plan and a goal.
Of course, you can imagine how it will end. I was usually exhausted at the end of the day without an idea of what I had done with my time.
So the first thing I did was to create a concrete plan that included both my home and my business, they were all there with me, there was no running from any of them.
I did this at first with just any notebook I found around until I learned that planners work the best. I started making it to use for my business.
Creating a plan with my planners helped me to have a concrete way of approaching my business and home before the day began.
That way I knew what I had to achieve before the day is done.
2. Disable all computer notifications
This will work best if you know that most of the notifications are not crucial and can wait.
When I am working on a blog post, I don’t like the distraction of having to read an email that just came in, because it disrupts my flow of ideas.
If you have to keep a notification on, make sure it is one that adds value to your business.
Say for example you have sent in a pitch or proposal that is time-sensitive, you can keep your email notifications on so you know when a reply has come in.
Otherwise, shutting off your notifications can save you a tonne of time and keep away distractions while working from home.
3. Separate your workspace.
I know it looks cool to work from your dining table but avoid the temptation of not having an office or at least a corner that is specially designated for working.
This distraction is a big time waster because you will not accomplish much if your dining table is in a central location.
I used to work from my dining table because I wanted to have an overview of what was going on around me.
Wrong decision, I was always getting up to fix one more issue.
Oh, the TV is on, fix it, oh the table got messy get up and fix it and guess what the kids want the TV on while you are there so how do I really focus on what am doing?
Thankfully I had an empty room upstairs I moved there and the distractions reduced.
I believe that this move actually cut down my work from home distractions by 50% becuase even when they wanted to come to disturb me, I could tell them mom is working.
I can’t say that they agreed to leave me alone 100 percent of the time but it sure works sometimes.
4. Noisy background
I can’t say I have found an excellent way out of this issue because I still have that in the afternoons.
But I have learned that when I require a quiet background to work. That work has to be done early in the morning when they are asleep or late at night.
Sometimes, I tell my kids to lower down their voice or stop making noise when it gets out of hand. Unfortunately, my last child is the most vivacious amongst my children so when I tell the older ones to keep it down and they are obeying me, he only needs to get into the mix and the equation will change immediately.
You can use noise-canceling earphones to keep out the noise but I don’t know if that works for me as a mom, I need to hear the noise to know what is going on with them.
As a mom, this is the best way I have found that I could cope with getting distracted when working from home. If you discover another way please let me know.
5. Mobile phone usage
I don’t know which is more distracting taking calls while working or checking your social media channels.
Keeping your mobile phone in front of you while working is a no-no if you want to get some work done.
One day I was doing some work, I kept picking up my phone to check my social media profiles, check WhatsApp chats, respond to endless banters on WhatsApp groups.
After a while, I realized that I had not accomplished my task for the day I was getting heavy distractions from my mobile phone.
I find that I do that a lot when I am struggling with a task, It is my subconscious way of seeking ease by whiling away time on the phone.
Keeping your phone on silent may be a good option if you have to have it near you. For me I tend to keep it away totally.
I let my clients know that the easiest way to reach me is my email, not my phone.
Sometimes, my little son is the one who lets me know when I have a call.
Whichever works for you, know that when you can control the distractions that come with a mobile phone you would have ovecome half of the battle that comes with work from home distractions.
6.Track your work time
If you know that your set time for a project is 2 hours, you are likely to work hard to accomplish it within that time than when there is no time limit. That is the same reason exams are timed based, they force you to focus.
Using a time tracking app will help you to track the number of hours you spend on each work or task.
This helps you to know if you are making progress in your war against distractions.
So if you use to spend 3hours on a project before you heard about these tips implementing my suggestions will help you to know how well you have improved from where you started.
If you are paid per hour, using a time tracking app enables you to bill appropriately and also reduces disputes.
If you are a home business owner, your time tracking app will help you know how to bill your clients better.
Working from home requires a lot of discipline if you are to achieve your goals, Understanding what to do to cut away the distractions that want to stop you is the key to making being successful.