Working from home is more of a norm these days rather than an exception. The misconception is that people working from home need to work less compared to those going to offices and other workplaces; it is not so. When you’re working from home there are too many distractions and you really have to work towards being productive. The moment you get a bit loose your productivity begins to go down and sometimes by the time you realize it you have already missed deadlines and have a long list of unmet commitments.
So how to avoid distractions and be productive when working from home? Here are a few things you can take care of:
Respect yourself and your time
Working from home doesn’t mean that you have all the time in the world. Just like going to work you have definite number of hours available to you and you have to complete your assignments during those definite number of hours. Once or twice in a week is fine but if you start putting in extra hours on a daily basis your personal and family life begins to suffer. That is why it is very important that when you are working from home you make proper use of is your work hours. People will respect your time only if you respect your time.
Set achievable goals for yourself
In order to remain focused you must have goals whether they are smaller goals or bigger goals. The basic idea is knowing what you have to do. Once you know what you have to do you can straightaway get to it without giving your mind enough space to get distracted. Our mind works better if it already knows what it needs to do. Bigger goals can be daunting in the beginning so divide them up in smaller goals and then work towards achieving those goals.
Have a separate space for yourself
If you’re looking for serious returns from your work you have to take it seriously and this also involves allocating a separate space for your work. Working from home doesn’t mean you can sit anywhere with your laptop and start working. Although logically there is nothing wrong in it as long as you can remain productive but if you feel distracted all the time you must have a separate space for yourself. Working in the living room while your kids are watching TV or playing games can be really difficult.
That is why it is very important to have a separate place for your work, preferably a different room, preferably a bit away from the usual household activities. If it is not possible to have a separate room at least you should have a separate corner of the house allocated to your work table and a little bit of space around it.
Set boundaries for your family members
Work area means work area. You can avoid distractions and be more productive if few people visit your work area when you are busy. Just imagine, you are about to write the greatest sentence you have ever written and bang — your son’s ball lands right on your computer screen. You have to set boundaries for your kids when you work from home. Let it be known to them that while you are accessible to them 24 hours, there are certain hours when you shouldn’t be disturbed unless there is an emergency. The same goes for your spouse. During work hours there should be no gossiping, discussion of sports or tasting of new recipes.
Use tools to organize tasks
Using tools doesn’t necessarily improve your productivity but they can definitely help you organise your tasks and to-do lists efficiently and effectively. It always helps to have a list of things you need to do on a particular day in advance. It is better to organise your tasks the previous day before wrapping up so that when you start your work the next day you already have things to do.
Learn to distinguish between being busy and actually accomplishing something
When we’re working on our own sometimes it becomes difficult to distinguish between just being busy and actually doing work. This is primarily because there is nobody standing behind our backs to monitor our activities and review the work on an ongoing basis, the way it happens in a normal office or workplace. When you work from home you are, in the word’s true sense, your own boss. You not only dictate when you work and how you work you also supervise yourself so that you can give your best even when nobody is pushing you or judging you.
Define tangible benchmarks. Doing research for an article might be considered as work but the actual work is completing the article and publishing it, or sending it to the client. Similarly, if you’re making a web design, creating different mockups for yourself might not be the actual work, the actual work is submitting the draft for client review.
Switch off communication channels when you are working
Do you really need your phone all the time? Do you really want to check your e-mail as soon as it arrives in your inbox? Do you really have to keep your instant messengers on all the time? These are nothing but distractions when you’re trying to concentrate. Allocate some time to checking e-mail and check your e-mail only during that time. Let it be known to your clients and customers, for example, that you normally check your e-mail between 3-5 PM and unless there is something urgent this is the tentative time they will receive a response from you. You can request people to send you text messages on your phone in case you needed urgently.
There are many more steps you can take in order to avoid distractions and the product of while working from home. Please mention your own opinion in the comments section.