Anyone who works from home knows that fighting the urge to rock sweatpants from the couch while working on your laptop on a daily basis is real. However, it can be a lot easier to fight off distractions when you have a few working from home rules set in place. While I do believe in a little rule breaking from time to time (I definitely watched the new season of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmit while I worked on Friday), sticking to these guidelines will keep distractions at bay during your workday.
Have a designated work space.
I can’t stress the importance of having a designated work space enough. Your work space doesn’t need to look like it’s ready for it’s close up in West Elm’s latest catalog. It doesn’t even need to be a large space. It just needs to be clean(ish) and functional. You need a space to put your computer, a notebook and a few pens, and if you are a maker of some sort, your materials for making. Be sure to inform anyone who you live with that this space is designated for your job and lead by example when it comes to respecting that space. If you are like me, you won’t work in the same space every single day for the same amount of hours but try to work in your designated space for at least a few hours of uninterrupted work every day.
Use the Pomodoro Technique.
The Pomodoro Technique was created by Franchesco Cirillo in the late 1820s. It’s a time management method that is easy to learn, easy to do, and best of all, free. Simply work for 25 minutes with absolutely no interruptions. This means putting your phone on silent or even (gasp!) turning it off, not checking social media, and staying completely focused for 25 minutes. Then you take a 5 minute break after your intense work session. After four 25 minute sessions, take a longer break lasting somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes. You can of course customize a routine that works best for you and the structure of your work day.
Keep office hours.
When I first started my business, my office hours were 24/7. I was fielding emails, Facebook messages, and even text messages from clients at all hours. I always felt exhausted because I was always working. The lines between work and home were no longer blurred, they were non existent. Keeping office hours not only keeps me sane but, makes me remember that there are certain time frames where I will be working hard and certain time frames where I will not be working. This keeps me focused and accountable during the hours that matter.
Limit your social media time.
Many of us use social media to market for our businesses and as someone who consults with other small business owners on how to use said social media to attract customers, I fully understand the importance of checking on your social media throughout the day. However, with apps like Hootsuite, Edgar, and Buffer, there is so reason that you can’t schedule all (or a great deal) of your social media posts ahead of time and check in periodically to engage with others. It’s a slippery slope from spending time on social media that is helping your business to Facebook stalking your old high school friends who you don’t talk to anymore.
Keep the things you need on your desk or in arms reach.
Every time you get up from your desk to hunt for a specific item around the house, you risk getting completely distracted. Keeping everything you need on or in your desk, or in arms reach from where you work will allow you to quickly get to the things you need with minimal distractions.
Ask for help.
Maybe you’re a parent. Maybe you’re involved in a lot of community projects that are keeping you extra busy. Maybe you have a 9-5 and a side hustle business. Regardless of what your situation is, sometimes we need help with keeping distractions at bay. Don’t be afraid to ask family or friends for a little help in creating a distraction free zone for you to work in. Any other creatives or entrepreneurs will definitely understand where you are coming from.