You know all too well how devastating a well-timed distraction can be. According to a UC-Irvine study reported by The Muse, the average person needs a whopping 23 minutes (and then some) to recover from a distraction. That’s many times longer than your typical at-work interlude.
For those who work exclusively at home, distractions pose an even greater threat. Those not possessed of great powers of self-motivation struggle every day to fend off interruptions and keep on task. Sometimes, it’s a losing battle.
Seasoned full-time home workers recommend a few tricks for distractible types. If you haven’t already done so, try these four on for size.
1. Stick to the Same Work Hours Every Day
Start by setting formal working hours — the blocks during which you’re always “at work,” barring an emergency or conflict that can’t be rescheduled. Set any calendar apps that you regularly use, such as Google Calendar, to accommodate these hours. Then, hold yourself accountable! When you’re at work, you’re not to be disturbed — not by others, nor by your own wandering mind.
2. Find a Pursuit (or Side Project) You’re Passionate About
If you don’t have a clear work-at-home angle yet, perhaps because you’re switching from the traditional office life for work-life balance reasons, try looking for a full-time pursuit that ignites your passion. Opportunities like fundraising distribution are great for ambitious at-home workers who enjoy supporting causes they care about.
They can be lucrative, too. Research conducted by ABC Fundraising tells us that full-time fundraising distributors working from home can earn anywhere from $500 to $5,000 or more per month.
3. Check Email at Set Times Throughout the Day, And Only Then
Check your email no more than once per hour, and then only for five minutes at a time. Many at-home workers swear by twice-daily email checking — once in the early morning, and again toward the end of business hours.
4. Keep Your Cell Out of Reach (And Use a Landline or VoIP for Work-Related Calls)
Your cell phone is a great source of distraction. Reduce the temptation by locking it away during working hours and turning off sound notifications. And use a landline or VoIP phone with a separate number for work-related calls. According to this VoIP cost breakdown, VoIP systems can be as low as $20 a month so they may be cheaper than a landline. If you’re a remote employee who’s expected or required to be available for calls on a regular basis, your employer should be happy to cover the cost.
Bonus tip: If phone work is a core job function, consider investing in a comfortable headset.
What’s Your Home Office Productivity Secret?
Toiling away in the solitude of your home office is a tough ask for anyone, let alone those accustomed to the social perks of the traditional workplace. Kudos to those capable of working productively from home for years on end.
The good news for committed home workers is that the longer you work at home, the more productivity tricks you’re liable to pick up. If you’ve been so fortunate as to pursue a successful, upward-trending career without the benefit of regular appearances at the office — or a traditional corporate structure at all — then you’re probably in a position to share some kernels of wisdom with those looking to give the work-at-home life a go.
What would you like to say to those eager to follow in your footsteps?