With many businesses closing their offices due to the Coronavirus Pandemic (as if we needed reminding!), people have had to adjust to working from home, where there are endless distractions.
It’s most likely your work from home set up is in the kitchen, dining room, or even your bedroom. This is such a different working environment, making it difficult to adapt, going from working with other people in an office to working on your own with only virtual interactions with your colleagues and customers.
It makes it so easy to procrastinate with many new distractions that were not there before such as family interruptions, housework, and simply a change in environment. This effects your productivity, quality of work and even how much you enjoy working. We’ve put together 8 easy ways to eliminate distractions when working from home…
Make a plan at the start of the day
At the start of every day, make a plan of the tasks you need to get done (maybe even in priority order). To-do lists can be really helpful to make sure you stay on track with your jobs. A good tip to remember is to keep it realistic and not be disheartened if you do not manage to complete everything, or if your day doesn’t go to plan.
It is important to focus on the things you have done rather than what you haven’t, because there is always tomorrow to finish what you had started!
Set a time to end the day
When you’re in the office, you most likely work set hours so you start and finish at set times every day. Just because you are home, this shouldn’t change! Decide on a time you will stop working and stick to it every day. It can be really easy to slip into a routine of working late into the evening - this can end up being counterproductive and tiring you out for the next day.
Break the day into small chunks
The Pomodoro technique was designed to help you manage your time better and therefore work more effectively. Simply break down your work into intervals of 25 minutes each with a short break in between. Take this idea and break your day into sections where you focus on one piece of work and nothing else to ensure you complete the task and do not get distracted. The short breaks allow you to reset your thoughts and get back in the mindset for your next task.
Have coffee breaks
This relates to the above tip - stop your work for a coffee break to allow time away from your screen and prevent eye strain and headaches. Brewing up gives you a reason to get up from your chair which can help refocus your mind ready for the next task. You don’t have to have a coffee every break, but getting up and making a drink is a great way to reduce temptations when you’re working from home. Studies have shown coffee increases productivity due to the caffeine content that boosts motor and cognitive performance.
Turn your phone off and leave it in another room
Your phone can be the biggest distraction when you’re working from home even more than it would be in the office. There is no such thing as ‘quickly’ replying to a text or checking your notifications; it always leads to scrolling through your social media without an end in sight! It isn't enough to just turn off your phone, you need to leave it in a separate room so you don’t check it while working to eliminate this distraction.
Get your family or housemates involved
If you’re lucky enough to live with other people while you’re working from home you’re not missing out on face-to-face interaction unlike people living on their own. Despite this major positive, they can be the biggest distraction when working from home. It can be so hard to ignore them and not join in with homeschooling or other activities. To eliminate these distractions, make it clear to them that they can not disturb you during your working hours and wait for your breaks if they need to speak to you - simple!
No housework allowed!
Another rule you need to make for yourself is: refrain from doing all housework during your working hours. It can be so tempting to sort out the laundry or give a room a quick tidy, but this can take up so much of your time! If your family is home, ask them to do some of the chores while you’re working to save you the distraction and the time. If not, set time aside at the end of the day or during a break to do housework!
Only check emails during a set period
Finally, checking emails is an important part of your day but it can take your attention away from more important tasks. If you set time aside in the morning and in the afternoon to check your emails, you won't miss any important messages but you won't spend your whole day answering emails and completing little jobs that are not a priority over ones that are.
As you can tell, working from home brings many new distractions to combat compared to working normally in the office! Working from home is the new reality for a long time for many people and it may even be a permanent way of working.
We hope you've learnt something from this blog to help you work more effectively and be more productive, by eliminating distractions when you work from home.