Working from home can be a lot of fun, but it can also be very easy to get distracted. Here are my top tips on how you can avoid distractions when you work from home:
1. Be clear with your friends and family
When you’re working from home, friends and family have a tendency to assume that what you’re doing isn’t really work. They may expect you to spend the day running errands or doing chores, or they might think it’s OK to drop by for a coffee and a chat. Be clear with your friends and family that even though you’re working from home, you are in fact working. If they want you to do anything else, make it clear that you’re only available outside your work hours.
2. Have a designated work area
This really helps you to get into “work mode” and also helps to signal to family members that you’re working and therefore not available. It also helps to keep you away from things that you might find distracting (eg. the TV or that pile of washing that needs to be folded) and keeps all your work-related things in one centralised location. If space is an issue, it doesn’t have to be a separate room (although this is optimal), even a corner of your bedroom or the end of the kitchen bench will suffice.
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3. Make a timetable and stick to it
Sticking to a timetable is challenging, but it’s a great way to stay on track. Tailor a timetable to suit your lifestyle and your job. Don’t think you have to work 9-5 (unless the nature of your job makes that necessary), one of the benefits of working from home is that you can create a timetable that fits around your life. Don’t feel you have to be at your desk by 9am and schedule your timetable 9-5. If you’re more productive at night and you prefer to sleep in, there is nothing wrong with creating a routine that reflects this. Of course, if you have clients who work 9-5, you’re going to have to at least be available on phone and email during this time. The key is to create a routine that works for you, and allows for maximum productivity, and then stick to it!
4. Study time management
Developing great time management skills is one of the best ways to stay focused and maximise your productivity. I strongly recommend studying the GTD system.