Working from home has its benefits as we all know. But, when it comes to staying focused, the minimization of the following distractions can be essential to your productivity.
- Set a Scheduled Work Time. Many companies that allow you to work remotely probably have a set schedule they would like you to keep. But, if you work for yourself, part of the flexibility you receive is setting your own hours. The key is to actually set those hours. Whether you choose to work from 9am – 5pm or 5pm – midnight, keep to your schedule and let others know that you are working during those hours. This minimizes the risk that friends and family will bother you during your scheduled work time(s).
- Schedule Social Media. If interacting via social media is part of your job, then obviously this may apply differently to you. But, if social media has nothing to do with your job then you must stay away from it during work time. Facebook, Twitter, and all the other social media sites can be huge time-suckers. It is easy to say “I’ll just check my News Feed” and end up on Facebook for an hour. Try to interact with your social media networks during breaks, lunchtime, or after you have finished your work for the day.
- Reduce Emailing. Regardless of your position, if you are a remote worker than most likely communicating via email is crucial. However, try to keep the email checking, reading, and replying to work emails during your work time. If you start replying to your friends’ emails during the time you told them you would be working, chances are they will not take your work time seriously. Plus, this is another distraction that can steal your time.
- Decrease Phone Usage. This is very similar to emailing during your work time. You probably need your phone for work, but try not to chit-chat with your buddies during that time. You should keep your phone nearby for work calls and emergencies; however, if you know your friend is calling to tell you about last night’s date you should – 1) let it go to voicemail and return the call later, 2) respond with a preset text message that you will call them back, or 3) answer and tell your friend you are working and will catch up with them later. Be cautious if you choose #3 though because what can start as “I’ll call you later” can move onto your friend’s “I just have to tell you this one thing” and then it becomes an hour-long call.
- Use the Office Door. If you work from home regularly or as your full-time job, you probably already have a home office. If you have that home office, then you probably have a door. If you do not, install one. If you do, close it. When you are working remotely during your scheduled work time, keeping your office door closed is important. Not only will this keep others away so that you can concentrate on your work, but it will also keep you from being distracted from the noises you hear outside of your office.
If you, your friends, and your family keep these distractions minimized from the start of your work-from-home experience, it is likely everyone will become used to it.
Do you have any other suggestions for reducing interruptions when working remotely? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!