A few years ago, I was planning a trip to Crescent City, California. In my search for lodging, I called several hotels in the area to compare prices and amenities. With exception of the hotel I stayed in, I don’t remember anything about the others I called. Well, except one.
During that particular call, my conversation was frequently disrupted by a screaming baby in the not too distant background. It was obvious to me this was not a chain hotel; it was a small, family-run business with lots of distractions working at home.
I give a ton of kudos to the owners of this hotel. The simple fact that they can run their business from their home is a feat desired by many. I also understand (boy, do I ever), that babies cry at the most inopportune times.
But as it turned out, I did not stay at this hotel. The level of professionalism, or lack thereof, made me wonder how well the rooms were maintained. Now I know it’s often hard to multi-task with a baby. But in all honesty, had I not heard the baby, this hotel probably would have been at the top of my list of contenders.
How to Get Rid of the Distractions
Distractions are all around us.
Most of them we cannot control, but when it comes to your home business, it is important to eliminate as many as you can. Not only the crying baby, but the barking dog, hungry after-school children, favorite TV shows, chores…you get it. You are working at home for a reason, and your professional attitude plays a huge role in obtaining and retaining clients. Productivity also suffers when distractions are present.
1. Have a dedicated work space.
This is your business space — not your children’s art station. Your area should contain only your business-related items, which leads to better organization. If possible, work in an actual room with a door that you can close while on the phone — even if it’s the bathroom.
2. Have a schedule and stick to it.
I am not fond of routine. Perhaps it’s a touch of ADD, who knows. But I do know that a set schedule for my work is important when it comes to accomplishing certain tasks. Try to have your work tasks, meals, and errands repeating at the same slots every day. Regardless of the type of work at home job you do — an actual business, freelancing, or simple online tasks — getting used to a schedule will give you the discipline to get more work done.
3. Tell your friends and family when to leave you alone.
Seriously. They need to know when you’re working and to not bother you. I know, it’s easier said than done when it comes to the kids, but they will understand when you tell them “mommy has work to do; give me ten minutes”.
4. Learn the power to ignore.
Maybe ignore is a bit strong. Perhaps “selective hearing” is better? My husband is retired. And he loves to talk. Yep…I’m pretty good at selective hearing.
5. Plan your day the night before.
The last thing you should do after every work day is plan for tomorrow’s work schedule. Make a list of everything you need to accomplish. Start with any unfinished projects you need to work on and add to your list all anticipated work duties.
6. Get organized and keep it that way.
I love lists. This is the only way I can keep all my ideas in order. I also love things to be put in their place. This is the only way I know where things are. Not too hard to do, right? When you get an unexpected phone call you’ll have the information at your fingertips. Set up your work area so the important items are at arms length.
7. Clear your head.
Working all day (or a few hours a day) really does take its toll on your body. Get out of your home office every once on a while and take a walk. Take a few deep breaths and unwind a bit. It is so important to have a clear head so you can make smart decisions, be more professional, and accomplish all you have set out to do.
Distractions cannot always be prevented, but there are steps you can take to improve the potential of gaining new clients, and getting more work done.
How do you fire your distractions working at home? Share your tips!
Photo by medigerati.
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It’s often a matter of finding what’s important/doing todo list/saying “no”/asking ourself the good questions/taking time to see the big picture.
“The art of simplicity is a puzzle of complexity.”
I would really like your post, it would really explain each and every point clearly well thanks for sharing.
More empirical research on the effect of a productive professional can help arise new key points on this topic. Your blog is great. Great job Kathleen.
I am a website designer and I used to have a time tracking software that reminds me if I’m working or not. I’ve been using this since last year and I can say that it’s pretty effective to fire your distractions. Although, your surroundings will always matter but if you really want to stay productive and make the most out of it you will find ways on how to keep your work-from-home setup a nice environment.