How do you avoid distractions when working remotely? For many, working from home can be extremely challenging. There are limitless sources of distraction – your smartphone keeps beckoning, the TV is just a room away, you give yourself too many snack breaks, and what else have you got?
Before you know it, the workday is over and you’ve accomplished little or nothing. Sometimes, you know that you have a ton of work to complete. But since no one is there to monitor and make sure you are getting things done (no one but you), you let time slip by and nag yourself afterward.
You promise to do better the following day. You might even set a huge goal to ensure that you make up for the lost day. Unfortunately, the same cycle of procrastination and losing track of time still repeats itself - what a mess.
If you constantly find yourself in this worrisome situation, small tasks that would have taken little effort to complete will begin to pile up. You get overwhelmed. Working remotely requires discovering yourself and employing smart ways to channel your mental and physical energy.
Luckily, there are more than a few hacks that will help keep your creative juices flowing so that you can mine every last bit of productivity gold from your day. Keep reading to learn how to limit distractions when working from home.
How to Work from Home without Getting Distracted
Set Up a Dedicated Workspace
Just as you have a bedroom, a kitchen, a bathroom, and other areas in your home that are meant for specific activities, you should also have a place that is reserved for work.
If you are new to the whole working-from-home shebang, on your first day, chances are that you will sit on a comfy couch in the sitting room and open up your PC. An interesting program is probably showing on the TV.
You will notice that your mind won’t be tuned in for work. It is still basking in the idea that you are at home. And home is a place you go to after the day’s job is done. So you see? You might not be able to get much done.
It is, therefore, important to carve out a home office for yourself. It doesn’t matter whether you make it an entire room or just a small quiet corner with a comfortable desk and chair.
A dedicated workspace is crucial if you want to get things done. Nothing else should happen there, except work. It is a good way to discipline your mind.
Since you are at home, who cares what you wear, right? Or whether or not you’ve showered and brushed your teeth. Well, you really should care. These things have a way of affecting your mood.
You need to stay professional if you wish to make the most out of your workday. And that means waking up when you are supposed to, taking a shower, and getting dressed. You don’t necessarily have to put on your three-piece suit or wear your pencil skirt and heels. I mean, you could if that’s what it takes to tell your mind, “Hey, it’s go-time.”
The point is that you need to establish a routine. It doesn’t really matter if you slip on your yoga pants and a comfortable sweatshirt. Just make sure you observe those morning rituals that you normally would if you had to step out of the house and shuttle to your workplace.
Have the Necessary Remote Working and Collaboration Tools
Every work-from-home employee needs to have the right tools to ensure optimal productivity. Of course, you also have to collaborate with your co-workers and teammates.
File sharing, video conferencing, team management, and communication, you name it – these are all part of the remote working experience. Tools like Zoom Meetings, Slack, Skype, and Google Drive, are some of the essentials.
Most importantly, time management should not be taken for granted. There are services that will help you keep track of your teammates’ productivity. Traqq, for instance, is a useful service that allows you to monitor the activity levels of every person on your team, and identify those that are most productive or less productive.
You can see the websites and apps they use and the amount of time they spend on them. You can also take automated desktop screenshots to see what they are working on at any particular time.
Create a schedule
Creating a well-planned schedule is a good way to make the most of your day. Portion out the number of hours or minutes you want to spend on a particular task and try and stay true to it. Even if you eventually exceed the allotted time slot, it would not matter so much. A schedule divides your day into sections, allowing you to put the most effort into each time-block.
Furthermore, ensure that you take a well-deserved short break after you complete each task. Set a time to have lunch and take a nap. It is important to keep your strength up and give your mind and body time to rest and recuperate.
Have a to-do list
Write down everything that you want to accomplish before the day is over. As you complete the first goal and scratch it off your list, you gain some morale to take on the next task.
Having a to-do list and ticking off each activity as you accomplish them will help keep your mind on the clock and make you feel more focused. You begin to realize that your tasks are actually accomplishable. A to-do list is a perfect way to avoid procrastination.
Apart from listing the work you need to get done, it also helps to incorporate other productive tasks into your day. For instance, have a good breakfast, exercise, or learn a new skill (take up a musical instrument; learn a new language, read, etc.). These activities have a way of seeping into your work. They make you more confident and motivated.
Avoid Your Smartphone and Social Media
If you keep reaching for your phone every few minutes, you will never get much done. You might think, ‘I only want to take a quick glance.’ But trust me, before you know what’s what, that quick glance can span into an hour.
Every moment your mind wanders off your task, not only do you lose time, but it takes additional energy to regain your composure. However, there are ways to keep your concentration and avoid the temptation of skipping from one source of distraction to another on your smartphone or PC.
Certain apps and browser extensions such as Stay Focused, YourHour, and Lock Me Out, can monitor the time you spend on unproductive apps and websites.
You can set a restriction within a chosen time period to prevent you from accessing your social media apps and other apps and websites. This will help you face your work and not lose concentration.
I hope you’ve found our tips useful. It is important to learn how to manage the biggest distractions if you are a remote worker. What do you do to stay focused and productive? Please feel free to share your ideas in the comments section below.
About the Author: Finidi Lawson is a tech enthusiast and a Windows 10 expert. His passion is finding effective solutions to Windows 10 problems and resolving the most complicated software and hardware issues. Armed with a high level of expertise and a deep understanding of how computer technology works, Finidi believes that his mission is helping people get the most out of their devices.