There are many distractions that you face while working from a home office. These distractions can include social networking, housework, children, and plain old-fashioned unaccountability. All of the above distractions can make it difficult to perform your necessary tasks effectively and in the time required by your deadlines. The funny thing about working from home is the benefits that come from your home office are most often the very things that bring distraction to your work. They become the downfalls that drive you back to a corporate setting.
It is harder than it seems to remove these home office distractions altogether. For some, it is downright impossible. Certain tools of productivity and success end up being the very causes of our distractions. That is why it is not the goal to eliminate the distractions, but to learn how to manage these distractions in our home office environments. Here are five common distractions and ways to eliminate or curb your incessant wandering.
1. Social Networking in the Home Office
For most of you who work from your home office, the use of social networking is essential. Since the elimination of this distraction is not all together possible, it is essential that you find a way to manage it in a professional manner. The social networking giants Facebook and Twitter are so difficult to ignore because they are readily accessible on the internet and they are important to the traffic building of websites and products.
When dealing with these social networks, it is essential that you make every effort to limit the distraction, rather than completely avoid it. This means setting specific times in which you can access and participate in Facebook and Twitter conversations and updates. Watch out for the productivity destroying chat and messaging and limit your work time usage to status updates and business related postings. For most people, accessing Facebook and Twitter three or four times a day is all that is required for the productive use of such social network offerings.
2. Household Chores in the Home Office
You may have decided to work from a home office in order to participate more in your home life. The problem with this way of thinking is it merges two distinctly separate objectives. If you are unable to create a clearly defined line between your home life and work life, even when working from a home office, you will find it difficult to produce the required results from your scheduled work time.
The first step to eliminating or reducing this distraction is to set up a workday time schedule. This means you make it a point to start at the same time every day and to work until a certain time. While this will not always be possible, by setting a schedule you can train yourself to work more reliably at a specific time, rather than bouncing back and forth and working whenever you feel like it. While it is tempting to work at home whenever it seems to suit you, having a set schedule will help you set your mind on the work that you need to accomplish for the day.
Housework should never be done while participating in your scheduled workday. You can do your dishes after work. You can take the garbage out after dinner. Alternatively, you can split your “shift” and give yourself some midday time for household chores. This is an awesome tip if cooking and preparing lunch for hungry kids is necessary. It will also give you time to do a quick load of dishes if required. Just ensure that you schedule that into your workday. Attempting to clean and work is just not productive.
3. Children in the Home Office
Kids can be the biggest distraction to productive work in your home office. Children are demanding and do not understand the necessity of work. You can alleviate this distraction by setting boundaries. You can teach your kids that they should only seek you attention when necessary. It can always be movie or coloring time during work hours.
Obviously, the younger the child, the harder this distraction is to alleviate. However, older children will be able to entertain themselves without difficulty. If the children remain a heavy distraction to your work, consider hiring an assistant to watch the children during your home office hours.
4. Television in the Home Office
Television is a distraction that is easy to avoid. Simply turn your television off. There is nothing of value on during the day anyway, why sit and watch the television when you should be working. If you need an audio distraction, turn on a radio. You cannot watch television and the computer screen at the same time. It is impossible to get anything productive done while watching television.
There is a reason that most offices do not have televisions outside the break room. It is simply too difficult to focus on both work and entertainment. Entertainment will always win. If you have a television in your office, you should move it somewhere else. This will eliminate any temptation to see what is on Jerry Springer this afternoon.
5. Accountability in the Home Office
The number one cause for distraction and poor productivity in the home office is the lack of supervision one has while working by oneself. It is extremely easy to procrastinate and play without a supervisor standing there to tell you are not getting anything accomplished.
In my experience, the easiest way to break yourself from this distraction is to set up some form of a schedule and time management system to remain accountable to. This will help you build the self-discipline required to work successfully from your home office. By practicing time management and scheduling you build an ingrained habit to get things done. In the end, you will find your work finished and you will have much more free time to participate in your distractions.
These methods for managing most home office distractions can help increase your productivity. They can even help you become better organized and increase your quality of work. This can provide you with greater self- respect and an increase in motivation. Working from a home office is not for everybody. However, if you can master the distractions of your home office, you will be a much happier and more productive worker. What are some other ways you might curb home office distractions?