Working From Home: Avoiding Distractions

Working from home is convenient, but it can also be distracting when the phone rings and babies cry. Find out how to avoid these distractions.

Minimizing distractions while working from home can be a daunting task. With screaming children, whining pets, ringing phones, mailmen knocking, and a myriad of other household chores just waiting right underneath your nose, it might seem impossible to get anything done without becoming overwhelmed. Also, fun distractions like surfing your favorite websites, flipping on the TV for a favorite episode of an old sitcom, or just plain taking a nap might start to seem like viable options after a few hours of staring at your computer screen. However, there are some plans you can enact to insure that you don't fall victim to the distractions that might tempt you from completing a hard day's work from home.

1. Separate your work environment from your home environment as much as your home layout will allow. Ideally, a spare bedroom could be converted into an office so that you can have space to concentrate on the tasks at hand. If you don't have an extra room for an office, put up a partition between your work area and the rest of the house. You can buy attraction screens from specialty stores, or just get a plain one from an office supply warehouse. There's no need to box yourself into a cubicle (after all, you can go into the office for that) but setting clear boundaries between work and home, even when you're at home, is the best way to avoid the temptation of distraction.

2. Hire a babysitter. While it might seem like working from home is the perfect solution to solving your expensive childcare problem, hiring a babysitter for just a few hours a day can keep the kids busy and distracted so that you won't be. He can take them to the park, take them swimming, walk the dog, and give them a snack while you get a few solid hours to get down to business.

3. To make the most of your babysitter's paid time, make a list of only the most important things you need to accomplish before the babysitter arrives. Tell yourself that as long you accomplish these things while the babysitter is there to entertain the kids, you can ease up for the rest of the day.

4. Make your "home office" feel like and office. Surround yourself with all the things you need while working before you get started so that you're not tempted to jump up every few minutes to get something you need. Get a cold beverage (preferably something non-alcoholic), pads of paper, pens, the files you'll need, and any reference materials you might want. Gather all the things related to your work before you sit down at your desk.

5. Most importantly, set goals for yourself, and reward yourself when you achieve them. If you get your entire to do list done an hour or two early, treat yourself to a walk with the kids, a favorite candy bar, or 30 minutes of your favorite TV show.

Follow these tips and you'll be avoiding work-at-home distractions in no time.

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