So you’re thinking of operating your business from home? It seems like the obvious choice, cheap and convenient. However, it can be much more difficult to work from home than people might think.
Distraction is the biggest barrier to your work. It will eat into your time and chip away at your productivity if you’re not careful.
Top distractions to watch out for
People you live with
The people you live with can be very distracting, especially if you’re part of a busy household. Noise levels and interruptions can mean that it’s difficult to get any work done.
Freelancing from home is becoming a popular option for new parents looking to get back into work without giving up on time at home with the kids. While it’s convenient it can make getting any work done feel impossible.
Both of these can eat away the hours and day time TV can mean you end up caring way too much about how that contestant is going to pull off a soufflé in time.
When it comes to the Internet, social media is probably the biggest productivity killer there is. If you work with social media then you have to work hard on your self-control.
Without anyone to answer to, you can take your lunch and breaks whenever you want. This can be great for scheduling your day with more flexibility. However, there is a real danger of letting what you planned to be a lunch hour roll into the rest of the day.
If you keep telling yourself you’ll go back to work in the next five minutes, you’re probably wasting plenty of “five minutes” here and there and that time costs you in the end. You don’t want to lose half the day to procrastination, that doesn’t pay well.
Establish rules early on
Establish the rules with the people you live with. If you work from home you’re going to have to have a frank discussion with whoever you live with so that you can work with as little distraction as possible.
You might even want to put up a sign or wear headphones as a signal that you’re not to be disturbed unless it’s something life-threatening.
Establishing rules isn’t just for the people you live with, you need to set some rules for yourself too. This might mean banning yourself from social media or setting goals of working straight for a certain amount of time before you can have a break.
Get out of the house
Whether you make it a regular thing or just do it once in a while when you’ve hit a rough patch, it can be good to step away from home.
It can be difficult to find the motivation to get the work done. Getting out of the house and working in a different environment can be the spark you need to get back on track.
Sometimes you can get stuck in a cycle, especially when you’re working somewhere you’re most comfortable.
Schedule things like housework and childcare around your working life so it doesn’t bleed into it. You might also want to remind the people you live with that because you work from home doesn’t mean you’re free to do all the cleaning. You have a job or jobs to do and are not simply putting your feet up all day.
Create a reward system
One way to keep motivated is to make sure there are consequences to not doing your work. An obvious consequence to get you motivated is that you need money. In order to get that you need to work to a standard expected by the person paying you.
Besides this, it’s also a good idea to have rewards for completing projects so that your motivation isn’t as difficult to come by next time.
Embrace the add-ons
There are plenty of productivity apps and add-ons to your browser that will literally stop you from wasting so much time on sites that distract you.
One example of this is LeechBlock which will block sites for certain periods of time that you specify so that you don’t spend all day on Twitter.
Do you have any other tips for working from home and managing distractions? Let us know your thoughts and tips in the comments below!