Nowadays, everyone wants to work from home. Some companies even allow their employees to telecommute. However, it is not always as rosy - or productive - as it might seem.
Working from home can be isolating at times. Many people turn their TV on for a bit of background noise, and company. Which is fine, until the moment your favorite TV show comes on. Before you know it, you’re snuggled up on your couch and watching it at the expense of your work.
This is a popular practice among many telecommuters. So, what should you do? It’s simple! Avoid the TV set as long as you’re still engaged in your work. It’s important for you to exercise restraint.
2. The Internet and Social Media
Social media and web surfing are the most common form of distraction in offices. It’s even worse when you’re working from home, because there’s no one watching over you. If you are someone who regularly checks social media updates, or gets distracted by different blogs on the net, you should probably consider going cold turkey. Shut out access to sites that are not necessary during your work hours, and limit yourself to those that are essential for your work.
You should also train yourself on how to fight the urge to check social media. While it won’t be easy at the start, doing simple things like having specific times for social media during the workday will really help you.
3. Small Children
Many people prefer to start freelancing when they have small children. While the idea might look great from the start, it’s going to be an uphill task to concentrate the same way you did while in the office. This is because of the different demands kids have. They won’t understand that you are trying to concentrate on your work, or are currently handling an important call on your phone.
There are two things you can do if you have small children. You can either take them to a nursery, or hire a babysitter for a few hours a day. The latter is a more affordable option.
4. House Chores
Telecommuters face a real hurdle when it comes to concentrating on the work at home. One minute you might be working on your laptop, and the next you’re doing laundry you forgot to do at the weekend. It happens to the best of us, but you need to know how to balance home and work tasks.
Don’t give your house chores priority over your work, especially if they weren’t scheduled in the first place. Try as much as possible to separate the two, or you might find yourself working for less than four hours a day.
5. The Mail
Mail can be a great distraction, as it’s delivered on a daily basis. There’s always the urge to find out what’s new. Sadly, it’s always the same thing - bills and more bills. Even if you find something exciting, it doesn’t justify the use of work hours to peruse your mail (unless it’s work related).
Instead, you should cultivate a culture of going through your mail after you’ve finished work. Stash the mail in a place where it can’t easily be seen, and wait for the “after-work” hours to go through them. You’ll appreciate the extra time from freeing up that part of your morning schedule.
Visit the best place for getting work done both professionally, and at a good rate.
6. The Kitchen
The kitchen is one of the most popular procrastination zones in the house. Whenever work becomes boring, the automatic reaction is to head to the kitchen to fix a snack, make tea, or find out what’s in the the fridge. Doing this several times a day eats up your work hours, because each visit can take a significant amount of time.
Try to ensure your workspace is far from the kitchen. If this is not possible, try and restrict yourself from regularly visiting it. Schedule snack breaks into your daily routine, and stick to them.
Tip: Always stock your kitchen with healthy items. Given you are working from home, there’s a chance your eating habits will increase. It’s therefore important you embrace healthy eating habits to avoid health complications in the future.
7. Email and Instant Messaging
Many telecommuters have the urge to check their emails regularly. While it might be work related, it is also a form of distraction - especially when you start engaging in instant messaging. Always give your current work utmost priority and attention. This will allow you to complete it in a timely manner.
You should also make sure you write clear emails, as this will reduce the constant back and forth questions that clients might have.
While it might seem odd, friends can indeed be a distraction to telecommuters. Your friends might drop in anytime, especially as they know you’re working from home. These visits and little errands can be time-consuming. Think of it this way - would they have sent you on an errand or made an impromptu visit if you were working in an office?
If your answer is no, then it’s time to set work boundaries with your friends. Don’t worry, they’ll understand.
9. Your Significant Other
It can be very hard to concentrate on your work while your significant other is in the house as well. There is always a temptation to just leave everything and be with them. It’s even harder if they constantly interrupt your concentration. Just like friends, your significant other might take it you’re free to do other things, since you’re working from home.
It’s important to communicate your work boundaries to them as well.
10. The Phone
Your phone is home to a number of messaging platforms, such as WhatsApp and Messenger. Given that there’s no one to watch over you, you can take advantage of working from home to use your phone constantly. If you’re not careful, it could consume a significant amount of your work time, especially if you like texting a lot.
It’s important you exercise restraint when it comes to using your phone. Don’t keep checking it, and avoid engaging in non-work-related matters when using it.
11. Lack of a Proper Work Space
The place you work is important. Choose a place that is far from any of the distractions mentioned above. You should make sure it is conducive to handling all of your work-related issues. It’s not good to constantly be up and about, searching for different documents when you could easily have stored them close at hand.
A work at home job might be very appealing, but it has its own risks associated with it. If you don’t keep to your schedule, you might lose out on a lot of work hours - which translate to earnings.
Do you have experience working from home? How do you manage it? Share your insights with other freelancers below.