By Princess Jones
As online entrepreneurs, we naturally possess the qualities necessary to become successful – dedication, motivation, persistence – but throw distractions into the mix that challenge these traits, and it’s amazing how easily we become derailed.
Below are tips to help you conquer the top four forms of work-from-home distractions you may face in your day-to-day work life.
The Chores Challenge
When I first started working from home, I always made sure my home was spotless. After all, clutter in our home equals clutter in our mind, ultimately distracting us from the quality of our work. Right?
Right and wrong. While clutter is a big distraction for many freelancers, what’s even more distracting is a potential eviction notice because you’re not getting any work done. Unless the refrigerator box you plan to live in is located near a WiFi connection, cut back on chores or cut them out altogether until you’ve established a solid work routine for yourself.
The level of success in your career impacts your entire standard of living and it’s what needs to be catered to before anything else. As your schedule levels out and becomes standard routine, you’ll be able to maintain your home again as you once did.
The Phone Call Conundrum
The phone has its place, but if you’re not careful it can turn into one of the rudest, most demanding forms of distraction. Unless pre-scheduled, phone calls and text messages are always at the convenience of the other person. Drop everything and answer, just once, and you’ll condition them to believe this is an allowed behavior.
Professionally, if phone calls are an absolute necessity, schedule your calls at your convenience based on your current schedule.
Personally, let your family and friends know that work time is work time. They can leave a message or send you a text, but you won’t get back to them until your work is done. Turn the ringer off while you’re working until they get the point.
The Hectic Household Hindrance
The hardest part about working from home is the lack of understanding others will have about your work schedule.
There’s a common misconception about the freedom of a freelance lifestyle. Family and friends will assume that because you have full control over your schedule, they’ll be able to spend time with you whenever they want, and you can simply do your work “later.”
Let this happen often enough, and “later” will never come.
We often let this happen because of guilt – guilt that our new way of making a living is causing the dynamic of our relationships to change – so when a friend shows up in desperate need of advice, or a child wants to play and we have to ignore them or say no, we cave so we don’t have to witness the age-old “chin quiver.”
As long as you’re clear you have to work during specific hours, the guilt will eventually subside, and soon your loved ones will have adjusted to your new lifestyle.
Create a workspace as far away from the social areas of your home as possible, and make it a haven – a place of inspiration for your work. Have your significant other field phone calls when they’re home, promise your child playtime during your breaks, and promise your friends a recap over coffee when your work’s done. They’ll feel honored to help, which is really all they want: to be included in your life.
The Internet Invasion
The Internet has a funny way of casting a spell on even the most motivated, focused professionals. Here are just a few ways you can avoid falling into the Internet snake pit:
- Set up separate email addresses for separate tasks. I have one inbox specifically for my work, another for my blog readers to keep in touch with me, and one for the blogs I subscribe to. This helps me to align my focus and not become scattered by my correspondence being jumbled in one location.
- Plan and research in advance. Complete your project planning and research in advance. This will erase all excuses to go online during your designated work schedule. If you don’t give yourself ways to justify web surfing, you’ll feel less compelled to do it.
- Turn off the Internet. If all else fails, turn off the Internet during your designated work windows, and turn it back on when it’s time to work on your Internet-related tasks. Since you’d look like a nut slapping yourself on the wrist, do what you have to do to make sure you work with, and not against, your need for an Internet connection.
We all know distractions can be challenging, but before you get stressed out about all of the things getting in your way, consider that maybe distractions aren’t always a bad thing. Learn about how distractions may actually help you work.