7 ways to reduce distractions: working from home

Work-life balance is not just a buzzy, self-help term that real business people laugh at. You need it.

Stephanie Ruhle

Being productive all the time is most people’s dream. However, many things get in the way of that, distractions and lack of motivation being some of them. There are ways you can be productive when you are unmotivated and below you’ll find ways to reduce distractions and increase your productivity.

While there are 7 tips here, you may only need to apply a few of these to reduce your distractions. The goal is to stay focused and accomplish more in less time.

7 tips to reduce distractions

1. Identify what distracts you

Working from home comes with challenges, many of which are somewhat different from the challenges associated to a place of work or school. You may have people stopping by, asking for things, calling you out of your “work zone” to do something, kids or pets to care for or your phone beeping.

It could be one or more of these or something else entirely. The only way you can reduce its effect on you and your work is to identify the cause of your distractions. I have created a work session tracker for you to keep track of your work sessions and any distractions and thoughts while you work.

2. Focus on one task at a time

Multitasking may sound like a great way to get  a lot done but it isn’t. Moving from one task to another reduces your focus and increases the amount of time it takes to complete a task. Rather do your best to focus on one task at a time. If there is something else that needs to be done, jot it down and get to it once you have completed the task at hand. Again, you can use the work session tracker for this.

3. Schedule your work time

Regardless of what needs to be done, be it for work or home chores, it is important that you schedule it. This way, one doesn’t badly affect the other. If you need to study, have a job, a hobby and/or a business to run, scheduling helps you stay on top of things and reduce the chances of you wanting to multitask just to get your tasks done.

To schedule your time, write out the things you need to do for the day or week and estimate how much time it will take to complete each task. Then put the most important tasks into your calendar first, before the others. The more you do this and follow through, the faster it is as it becomes part of your day.

Ideally, plan your day the night before so that you wake up to a schedule. At the end of the day/week review the day/week, find out what worked and/or didn’t work and ways to improve. This way you know if you are getting distracted more or less, which also helps with identifying what distracts you. Download this weekly review printable you can adapt for a day or try this adorable planner.

4. Remove “background” noise

How to remove distractions when working from home

Well, I am also guilty of this, leaving the TV on, some music or a podcast playing in the background. However, I am also guilty of stopping in-between work to watch a scene or even sing along instead of staying focused on my work.

While many be able to work with “intentional” background sound which helps drown out certain unwanted noise, for a lot of others, that sound can be a distraction on its own. So, it is important to turn it off and see how it affects your distractions.

If you find that you work well and barely get distracted from these, then by all means keep them on or switch to a less distracting genre.

5. Take breaks

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try or what you try, you’ll stay distracted. At this point, its time to take a break. Step away from the work a bit, take a walk, relax or meditate for 5-10 minutes, give your mind some time to relax before getting back to work.

6. Create the best working environment for you

It is necessary that you make each work session as productive as possible. So keep your work space clean and clear of clutter. When you are about to work, only keep things you need around you, close unnecessary tabs on your browser and only keep relevant tabs open.

Also choose a desk location where you aren’t facing a lot of distractions.

7. Talk with the people you share a home

Working from home can be difficult if you live with people, So have a conversation with them about your work schedule and let them know what times you need to stay focused. Consider working in time blocks and taking long breaks after a few to see or attend to them, especially kids who can spend a little time on their own.

Some other things that help

8. If you don’t need your phone for work, put it away

9. Reduce household chores during you work day

9. Always keep your vision and goals in mind

Conclusion

Distractions are part of our every day lives, It may not be possible to eliminate them completely but you can take steps to reduce their effect on your daily life.

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