“In 2014, 23% of employed persons did some or all of their work at home” according to the American Time Use Survey. Also in the UK, nearly 14% of those who work, are home workers. It’s certainly a trend that is rising, but there are a few things to keep in mind in order to avoid distractions.
1. Set boundaries with family and friends
Many homeworkers complain that family and friends don’t understand that just because you’re home all day, it doesn’t mean you’re available. They will knock on your door, invite you for afternoon tea or to hang out with them.
You can help yourself and set some office hours in which you want to be totally undisturbed. The more people you let know about it, the more they can help you and respect your boundaries.
If you live together with other people, like roommates or your spouse/husband, you can put signs on the door or let the other person know that when you’re on your desk, you don’t want to be disturbed.
2. Plan what you will eat
Procrastination tries always to sneak in and nothing is more inviting than a little snack from the fridge. You can easily end up snacking all the time or enjoying the home kitchen to prepare a more extensive meal. Try to be as disciplined as possible and plan what and when you’re going to eat during your day, just as you would do if you would work from the office.
3. Separate home vs work browsing
Being a home worker means often also mixing private and work life. If you’re used to work in an office you would have your own work computer, your to do list and your bookmarks that are work related. But if you have just one computer, the temptation to browse your favorite sites or just one more youtube video, it is very very high.
Help yourself with a few tricks: you can block access to certain sites during your working hours or if you’re on a Mac, you can have different spaces, one for work and one for leisure.
4. Get a work outfit
Get dressed as if you would go to work. People keep underestimating this factor but it’s part of a ritual that will put body and mind into work mode. If you’re still in your pajamas or, even worst, working from the bed, it will not help your productivity. You might get invited to a spontaneous skype call or a meeting, so getting properly dressed will not just strengthen your professional appearance, but it will make it also easier to catch up with friends after work and prevent you from working well beyond working hours.
5. Don’t do your home chores
Make sure your workplace is free of things that remind you of other duties. If you’re stuck with your work, even washing some dirty dishes might seem more attractive than getting your work done. Don’t fall into the habit of doing your home chores during your working hours. It’s best if those things are way out of sight from your workplace, so your brain doesn’t get reminded and distracted by them.
If you have any little useful hacks for avoiding distractions as a home worker, we would love to learn from you and hear about them.
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– Your Noisli Team