Going to work and dealing with the commute is so last century! We’re fortunate enough to live in times when working from home is a new normal. But although it comes with many advantages, there are some downsides. In this guide, we’ll see how to avoid distractions when working from home.
To be fair, most of us are new to this whole thing. We’re mostly used to going to an office and having a bunch of people working around us. Or, to many workers’ dismay, we have bosses breathing down our necks. Combine this with those awful rush hours and traffic jams, and you feel like never working again.
With the home-bound work, we have more flexibility. A lot of professions don’t require you to go to an office if you have a solid internet connection. Needless to say, this relieves a lot of pressure.
But you still have so many distractions to deal with! In fact, it’s sometimes really hard to get the job done. Don’t worry, we’ll help you out with that!
If possible, work in a separate room
Having a separate room as a home office is a blessing. Of course, this is not something everyone can do. But if there’s even a slight possibility to use a separate room for working at home, do it.
There are two main reasons for it.
- The first one is practical in nature. You’ll have a room where no one will bother you. You can sit and work, have online meetings, or whatever you like. You can even do paid online surveys there and not worry about distractions.
- The second reason is psychological. There’s an actual physical barrier. This works both for you and your housemates.
You’ll have your workspace defined very strictly. Your peace is your priority here. All of this is easier if you have a separate room for this.
Of course, if it’s not possible to have an office as a separate room, we have other solutions. The idea is to keep a designated space for your home office purposes. If you can’t have an entire room, then at least have a corner with a desk where you can work.
One interesting approach to getting rid of distractions is making barriers. We’re talking about actual physical barriers here. They are especially useful if you can’t use a separate room as your home office.
Some of those regular screens or cubicle office barriers can serve you well. But if you’re on a budget, try and use what you have. For instance, a bookshelf might come in handy.
Overall, the idea behind these barriers is mostly psychological. You’ll remove all of the visual distractions. If there’s a TV set or a window, you won’t be looking at it if there’s a physical barrier in between.
Additionally, people who you live with will respect your space more. They’ll realize that you need your space and will be bothering you less. Of course, this works if you also talk to them, but we’ll get to that.
Working from your bedroom is not a good idea
Sure, it’s hard to get a separate room for your home office. But as we already mentioned, things usually aren’t that simple. You’ll most likely have to use a shared room.
With that said, working from your bedroom is not a good idea. Sure, it’s usually the most distant and quiet room in your home. But it won’t affect you well in the long run.
The bedroom is your intimate quiet place. If you get used to working there, you’ll most likely ruin your sleep patterns. If there’s no other way, work from your bedroom. But break up your space with barriers, as we’ve already discussed.
Organizing your workspace
Next up, you’ll need to think about organizing your workplace. Once you’ve settled your work spot, aim to keep it only work-oriented. Of course, you can have a few other trinkets and gadgets here and there. Just make sure not to overdo it.
The main idea behind an organized workspace is to know where everything is. Sure, you might be a chaotic kind of person, maybe an artist or a graphic designer. But having things well organized will make your life easier.
These things are rooted in our psychology. If you have a crowded, chaotic, and cluttered workspace, it just won’t work for you. In such an environment, you’ll subconsciously feel like you’re not in control.
As uninteresting it might seem, it’s always better to be organized. With everything in right place, your brain will be able to focus easily.
Make agreements with other people in your home
Now, here’s the tricky part. There’s a high chance you’re sharing your home with someone. And those other people will be there while you work.
The problem is that people who don’t work from home often think that you’re not working at all. In their perspective, you’re just having a blast sitting at home! But things couldn’t be further from the truth. Even if you choose to start vlogging, you are going to need to have a quiet place.
Those who have conventional jobs can’t often wrap their minds around this concept. Therefore, we’d advise you to sit down and talk to your housemates. Whether you have a separate office or are using a shared space, they’ll have to value your privacy.
Rituals are important
Having rituals is surprisingly useful. We’re all used to actually preparing and going to work. And you can do that even if you’re working from home.
Make yourself a morning coffee, do a routine that you like. And when you’re done with these morning activities, prepare for work! You can even have separate clothes for working at home. After all, staying all day in sweatpants is not very motivating, isn’t it?
The idea here is to set strict boundaries between work and other activities. If you’re constantly in your “casual mode,” your work will suffer. You’ll end up working the whole day and not doing much.
When you strictly define work time and leisure time, you become more effective at both.
Having a to-do list helps
It’s always useful to have to-do lists. At the beginning of your day, define what you have to do for the day. Break it up, turn it into a list, and get busy!
Or, even better, you can prepare your list one or more days ahead. By having an organized work structure and set goals, you’ll focus more easily.
Set your phone to “do not disturb” mode
That phone seems to be going off every minute! Everyone’s texting, sending trivial stuff that you don’t need.
The best idea is to keep your phone in the “do not disturb” mode. If you need a phone for work, try to get a separate one and keep it only work-related.
The other option for communication can be through other apps. You can install them on your computer. But these should be strictly for work.
Avoid distracting media
With that said, keeping away from all distracting media is a good idea. Have your TV out of sight. Preferably, if possible, use separate phones and computers for work.
Sure, we all like to have entertaining media around us. But it can be very distracting if you need to focus on work.
…But some occasional distractions are welcome
On the other hand, having some distractions is okay. After all, you don’t want to make it too sterile. It depends on what you’re like. But most people enjoy having some smaller “distractions” laying around.
Leave something to make your workplace warmer. In case a TV set is not too distracting for you, keep it in your workplace. Just make sure to know what will distract you more or less.
It can be tiring if you keep your working space too sterile. Imagine working 8 or more hours a day and having no minor distractions. You’d probably go mad.
It’s important to take breaks
There’s one downside to working from home that many people overlook. Being all alone, you can pull yourself into work without taking breaks. And we all know how exhausting this can be.
So, try not to forget to take breaks. When you’re at an office, you’ll see people going out to lunch. Remind yourself to do that once in a while.
The most common model for taking breaks is every 45 minutes. After working hard for a while, get up and stretch out a little. Additionally, don’t forget to drink water and eat.
Some people like to drown themselves in work thinking that it can make them more productive. You’ll experience productivity issues if you don’t take regular breaks.
Background music: Yes or no?
Finally, we have the issue of background music. It’s hard to give advice on the matter since this is kind of subjective. Some people enjoy complete silence. Others, like to work with music.
In most cases, having complete silence all the time can feel weird. But at the same time, music that you love can be a distraction.
There’s a middle ground here. You can find easy-listening music, preferably instrumental. Keep it in the background at a reasonable volume. This can be helpful if you want to “cancel out” people talking or other background noises.