Getting Rid of Distractions – How to Be Productive While Working From Home

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Plenty of people choose to work from home. Some like it because it is convenient while others like to set their own hours but all of them like staying at home and earning money. Once mostly for parents, many single individuals are joining the work-from-home trend. While there are a lot of great reasons as to why people choose to work at home instead of going for the usual office set up, you can’t help but deny the fact that there are also pitfalls in this setup which can prevent you from being at your most productive. These pitfalls can all be summarized in one word, and they’re called distractions.

Admit it, your home holds as many distractions as there are in the office – perhaps even more. These distractions can prevent you from achieving 100% of what you’re supposed to do each day, but it doesn’t have to be so. The key to becoming more productive while working at home is to identify what these distractions are and find ways to eliminate them.

Here are some major distractions that most work at home entrepreneurs meet, and some solutions to increase your productivity during the day.

A lot of parents work at home to be closer to their children. While that’s a good thing, your children can sometimes (or always) distract you from your work, leaving you less productive at the day’s end.

Find a room that can serve as your office, and make this off limits to the children. If you have smaller children that do not understand you are working, you could try hiring a babysitter to look after them, or enroll them in a nearby day care for a couple of hours. This way, you can have privacy while working yet still be close enough to check on them every once in awhile.

Phone Calls
Telephone calls are one of the biggest problems that people working from home face. They’re distracting, and they can take up much of your time. Make use of your answering machine to screen calls, and don’t answer unless you really have to. Inform friends and family about your work hours. Let them know that you’re not available during these hours of the day, and to call you after those hours if ever they need anything.

Just close your inbox. Emails can also be distracting, and can waste a chunk of your time especially if you have to go through hundreds of emails each day. Make sure that you have separate email addresses for work and family. This makes it easier for you to go through emails, and helps you make sure that you don’t miss out any important emails. Avoid joining mail groups and avoid sending out chain type emails. If you plan to do so, do these on your personal email account.

Games and Other Websites
Uninstall all games on your computer, and avoid visiting websites that aren’t helpful at all (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace). Of course you know they’re distractions, but sometimes they can be quite tempting. I am a Twitter junkie myself and I have to set specific times in my schedule to get on Twitter, or I waste my whole day. Making it a point to control yourself is key, especially if your work pace starts to get boring.

Unannounced Visitors
Some people will not understand that just because you are at home doesn’t mean you aren’t working. Older people that were housewives seem to be the worst. Some times they will just show up and expect you to be able to drop everything and have lunch/go to the mall/insert crazy request here. Just because you are at home doesn’t mean you have the day off. You will have to set boundaries with your friends and relatives that don’t understand. Letting them down once will only make it worse. Luckily, working from home usually mean you set your own hours, but do not take drop in visits lightly.

Distractions are present at any type of job, and in any location. What is important is that you pinpoint what these are and find ways to eliminate them. As a work at home mom, I have battled controlling all of these distractions. When scheduling my day, I add in breaks every few hours, to check my email, Twitter or discussion boards. I use them like rewards for getting work done. Once you do, you’ll be surprised at how much time you have on your hands – and the many things that you can do (work related, of course!) with the extra time that you have!

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