Isn’t it great to work from home? Working what ever hours you want, getting to meet friends and family more often, working from the comfort of your own home. However, there are also some pitfalls along with all these perks.
For many of us freelancers the biggest of these pitfalls is distraction. The phone ringing, friends dropping by unannounced, household chores. When working from home, we cannot afford to fall into these traps. Learning to avoid these distractions will help keep you on track, and keep you focused on your road to success.
How To Avoid Distractions When Working From Home
Telephone calls are probably one of the biggest distractions faced by freelancers. If a client or co-worker is calling you, make sure to get the reason for the call as quickly as possible. Yes, having a quick chat is great, but don’t spend too long chatting about the weekend or the kids for too long. Try to keep your calls as short as possible. If you feel that they are calling you too often just (tactfully) explain that they are distracting you from your work routine and arrange to cut down on calls and ask that any issues be dealt with on a weekly basis instead.
If you are receiving calls from telemarketers, ask them to call you again when you are free to talk. If you are not interested in whatever it is they are selling ask them to remove your number from their database. You can go one step further and contact your phone provider to remove your number from any lists.
If you are receiving calls from your friends and family, just explain to them that you are working and you will call them back when you have finished. If you have scheduled working hours then ask them know not to call during this these times.
Working in front of the T.V. is never a good idea. Period!
While working with the T.V. on in the background is great for loneliness it can also be detrimental to work. T.V. is terribly addictive (especially those day time chat shows), and that 5 minute break will quickly become 10 minutes, and 10 minutes can so easily turn into 20 minutes.
If you like working with the T.V on in the background but find it difficult to keep focused on your work, try switching on the radio instead.
Lets face it, we are living in a world where everybody is connected 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Social Networking sites are great for promoting your business and showcasing your talents but updating your status while work or stalking your favourite celeb is simply just wasting time. And think twice before you post that photo of you at your friend’s birthday party last week. Do your best to stay away from social networking sites when you have work to do, and turn your status to ‘busy’ or ‘invisible’ on you instant messenger.
The internet is full of great resources that can enhance your freelancing career, but sometimes too much information can be a bad thing. Many a time I have been doing some research for a job I was doing, or for a personal project and have gotten sidetracked by adverts or links to other pages (which often have totally unrelated content). Do your best to keep focused on your research and sign up for an RSS feed from your favourite websites and blogs instead of browsing.
Working from home is the procrastinator’s dream. Putting your least favourite tasks on the long finger only prolongs their inevitability. Just put them on the top of your to-do list and get them out-of-the-way as quickly as possible. Once all your tasks for the day are done you are free to spend the rest of the day at your leisure!
So what about you? What distractions do you have to contend with on a daily basis? How do you avoid them?