Working from home has become a new norm in the world of Covid 19. For most of us, this calls for a drastic change in the way that we do things. Working from home has its benefits, not least of which is that you can do so in your pajamas. However, there are some drawbacks. A lot of people find that the distractions at home are just too many to make for a viable work environment.
First, there is the television that appears to magically draw you from things that need to be done. Then there is a baby rushing into that room that you have turned into an office and demanding to be allowed to type something on the computer. All this while you are in the middle of an important Zoom meeting.
Though it’s possible to resist the temptation that is television, Baby is something else. So, what can you do? The following are tips for minimizing distractions while working from home;
Get your own office space
The first thing that you need to do to turn working from home into a viable proposition is to create your own office space. That can be difficult in the urban setting where space is at a premium, but really, you need your area where you are free to do work-related stuff.
Where you cannot have a dedicated room as an office, you may wish to create a curtained-off area that serves as your workspace. The goal here is to keep distractions on one side, and your work on the other. Of course, a curtain or even a door isn’t going to keep Baby away, but it’s a good starting point.
Have a schedule and stick to it
Scheduling your time can be another way to ensure that you do your work uninterrupted, even within an environment that’s full of distractions. Working from home may appear to be great at first, till you discover that you need 8 hours to complete three hours of work.
We have seen this happen while working with Hubstaff, a time tracking, and productivity management app. We have a job where we were supposed to put in 3 hours a day. Instead, we ended up putting in at least 8 hours just to get the 3 hours. But why was that the case?
Well, such a scenario can happen if there are distractions in your home and if you do not have a schedule that you are willing to stick to. True, sticking to what you are doing can be a challenge at first. But you really need to sit down for the set amount of time without doing something else.
At the end of the day, you will discover that you only need 3 hours to complete 3 hours of work. It’s not that difficult a thing to do. Say from this time to this time, I will be working, and I need no distractions. Do that for a few days, and you will discover that things will get easier.
Turn off your phone
If you are one of those people who just cannot do without their phones, then it can become a source of distractions as well. What you need to do is to either turn it off or to put it in a do not disturb profile.
Otherwise, you are going to spend most of your time following this or that gossip and you will discover that you have done very little at the end of the day.
Avoid sites that take you away from your work
The phone is not the only culprit as far as keeping people away from their work is concerned. Most people also have a vice for online distractions such as YouTube and Facebook. What you need to do is to teach yourself to stay away from these sites for the duration of your work.
We have already noted that if you are not careful you will spend the whole day trying to do an hour’s work. These and other platforms are usually the culprits.
You start off doing your work and before you know it, you will be deep in the New York Times or in some other online news platform. So, you need to learn to stay away from these.
Take scheduled breaks
How long can you work on a task without getting your mind muddled? We are all different in this regard. The important thing here is that you need to take regular breaks to prevent working from home from becoming some kind of mental punishment.
We assume that you are doing the very same things that you were doing from your office. If that’s the case, try and correspond your schedule, including your breaks, with what you had in the office. If you force yourself to keep going even when you are fatigued, you will find working from home rather tiresome.
Listen to music
This one is conditional. Some people find that music is something of a distraction while working. However, for the majority of people, there is nothing like a little bit of background music to get them into the proper work gear.
If you fall into this category, you should come up with a playlist to help keep you going while doing your work from home. Listening to songs that you like is a good way of drowning out all that ambient sound with which humans are surrounded.
Perhaps someone nearby is playing their own music. In that case, you can simply put on some head phones and you should be good to go.
Quit when your body tells you to
Your body will tell you when it’s time to quick. You should learn to understand and respect these signals. There is a temptation, particularly while working on your own projects, to want to do everything at once.
We have found this to be the case while working on our new site that covers technology news and tips in South Africa. Sometimes, we become guilty of setting ourselves difficult to meet targets, such as to write 5 articles per day.
The important thing here is to let that only be a goal. However, while working on it, your body will tell you that it has had enough. In that case, you should allow yourself to go back to your television or to Baby.