When you work from home, it seems distractions hit you from every direction. If you are like me, and have trouble say “no” and focusing on your work, here are some tricks that I have found help me when there are too many other things that demand my attention.
Use a Timer to Organize Your Time
Set a timer for 45 minutes. During that time focus on your current project. You know you will be able to handle whatever distraction appears after the bell goes off, thus you are free to focus on what you need to get done with your work. If you work for 45 minutes and then reset the timer for 15 minutes, you can use the 15 minutes to play a game, do your dishes, or whatever else is distracting you from your work. When the bell rings, reset it to 45 minutes and get back to work.
Young children can be taught about the timer. Use the timer for when the kids are at home. Explain to them that during this time you will be working and will give them your full attention when the bell rings. This is also a great way to teach children how to read a clock and you and your children can appreciate the quality 15 minutes of time throughout the day.
Set Office Hours to Organize Your Day
One of the major problems of working from home is that friends and family do not hesitate to interrupt. Set hours when you will be working, just as you would if you reported to an office. To discourage interruptions from well-meaning family members, tell them when you will be free.
Use your Answering System to Cut Distractions:
Use your phone answering system to your advantage. If you are in the middle of a job that requires you to focus your attention, let the answering machine pickup any incoming calls. Return the calls when you take a break.
Multi-task Throughout the Day:
I have found that I can start a load of laundry in the machine, then go to my desk and work for a set amount of time. Knowing that I will have to get the clothes into the dryer, I can focus on the project in front of me and avoid interruptions until the spin cycle is finished. I transfer the wet clothes into the dryer and go back to my desk. These mindless tasks actually give me enough of a break that I can work around any mental obstacle that might have appeared.
I have a hard time beginning a story or a subject. While I am loading the washer, my mind is busy on the topic of my next writing endeavor. It is usually while my hands are full that the perfect opening comes to me. I finish up whatever chore I am doing and hurry back to my desk to jot it down before it slips away.
Use a Tape Recorder to Organize Your Ideas
If you are like me, you have tons of great ideas occur to you while you are driving. I have learned to keep a small tape recorder in my pocket to record these ideas. I also have called and left myself messages about a hot topic or idea that I don’t want to risk losing getting back to my computer.
Set Deadlines and Goals To Meet Your Needs.
I have found I get more done when I have a deadline looming. I have a tendency to avoid self-imposed deadlines though I am great at doing things at the last minute for regular deadlines. Thus, to give myself more incentive to complete a project, I set a goal of how much I have to earn each day. This goal then turns into an hourly goal. For example, I am writing full-time as a freelance writer. Thus, my goal is $500 per week which breaks down into $100 per day for the Monday-Friday I can work around my husband’s schedule.
By focusing on what has to be done and having built in allowances for distractions, you can build your home business into an organized and productive career.