When working from home, we often face different distractions than we do in the office. This can mean that we need new strategies to keep them from slowing down our productivity. While some professionals may feel more productive while working from home, others might feel like they’re working at half speed. Whatever the case, it’s important to get a sense of how distractions are impacting your remote work. From there, you can establish a plan to protect your focus and energy. Let’s take a look at some key strategies to minimize work-from-home distractions:
This strategy seems so simple that many professionals skip over it. But it’s actually one of the most important foundational steps in creating an effective plan. Which distractions from the office have carried over to working from home? Digital distractions, like social media and email, are common culprits here. What new distractions have emerged? Which distractions are inevitable and which do you have some control over? Which ones are taking up the most of your time? These are all important questions professionals should ask themselves. To effectively minimize distractions, we first need to be clear on what those distractions are.
One great strategy to ward off distractions is to get specific with what you’re working on in each window of time. What is your goal for the next 45, 60, or 90 minutes? When you break your schedule down in this way, you hold yourself accountable and make it more difficult to drift off track. Distractions often disguise themselves as work or ‘just a short break’. When you’ve clearly determined the focus of your window of time though, it becomes much more clear that these aren’t what need your attention.
We’re often most susceptible to distractions when we’re tired. Forcing yourself to go through your workday without breaks might feel like dedication to some, but in reality, more often than not, it backfires. Especially when working from home, our personal life can be a major source of distraction. By taking several shorter breaks throughout your day, you give yourself time to engage with the things in your personal life that are vying for your attention and field some potential distractions. When you sit back down to work after this break, you’ve set yourself up for a more productive chunk of time.
Organization is key to managing distractions. Physical clutter, mental clutter, and digital clutter are all top sources of distraction. For professionals committed to maximizing their time and focus, staying organized is key. Things like keeping a tidy workspace, keeping your inbox up to date, and giving yourself time to decompress mentally each day can help you better stay on track and avoid distractions.
How have you been navigating distractions while working from home? What differences have you noticed from working at the office? Are there any new strategies that have helped you stay focused? I’d love to hear your thoughts.