Working from home as a self employed person is great. If do it already, you already know that. If you’re considering getting into it, let us reassure you; so long as your line of work brings the money in, it’ll be the best decision you ever make. You set your own hours, nobody tells you what to do, you eat when you want and you’re left in peace. It’s bliss.
In fact, the only issue you’ll really encounter when working from home – other than the need to keep the bills paid – is yourself. With no boss to keep you on the straight and narrow, keeping yourself motivated and focused can be an issue. What starts as a quick glance at a news website can end an hour later down a Wikipedia hole. You can sit in front of the TV for 30 minutes while you eat lunch, and accidentally find yourself still there long after you’re done eating because you were engrossed in whatever you were watching. Then you become annoyed with yourself, which impacts your productivity for the rest of the day.
You’re not alone in that struggle. It happens at least occasionally to everyone who works from home ever now and then, and there are ways to combat it. Here’s five practical tips to consider!
1. Block Off Distracting Websites From Your Browser
If you’re somehow who finds yourself occasionally glancing at Facebook, or Twitter, or even just the news, then you need to force yourself to stay away from them during work hours. You know how the process works. You log onto Facebook, you find an engaging comment thread, you join in, and next thing you know it’s been 20 minutes. You won’t get that time back, and you didn’t use it productively.
No matter which browser you use, you’ll find an Internet Options tab within the settings. Open it up, go to ‘security’, and then ‘restricted sites’ (or whatever your browser-specific equivalent is). Enter all the sites that become distracting for you, and you’re done. Are you someone who likes to play online slots, and spends time in online casinos like Rose Slots? There’s nothing wrong with that, but do it in your own time, although casino sites like RoseSlots.com are arguably some of the most distracting and addictive sites on the internet! Do you click every hashtag you see on Twitter? Then Twitter’s going on the list, too! Are you a Pinterest daydreamer? Us too, but not when we need to work! Add them to the list. You can unblock them when you’re done working.
2. Keep Your Phone Far Away From You
Your smartphone is just a world of trouble if you have it next to your computer. It will light up every five minutes, and it’s a portal to not only all your favorite websites, but WhatsApp and other messaging apps, too. If you need to constantly make phone calls as part of your work, use the landline. If you don’t have a landline, consider using Skype to make your calls.
We appreciate that you may occasionally have to take calls as well as make them. That’s fine. If your phone is on the other side of the room, you’ll still have time to walk to it and pick it up if it rings. It just needs to be somewhere that isn’t in immediate reach of wherever you’re sat. Where possible, encourage people to contact you via email. Keep the phone out of sight and out of mind!
3. Keep The Television Off
It’s common for people who work from home to have the television on in the background. Most of them will tell you that it’s just for background noise. That makes sense; working alone from home for long periods of time can be quite a lonely experience, and having the TV on takes the edge off it a little. Despite that, they’re just another way to get distracted.
Humans probably have more in common with magpies than we’d like to admit! We get distracted by shiny, colorful things. You’ll find yourself glancing up at the TV repeatedly even if you don’t want to. Worse still, your favorite show might come on and distract you further. If you want background noise, stick to the radio. Find a playlist on YouTube or Spotify that’s designed to aid concentration. Plenty of them exist!
4. Insist That Your Space Is Respected
You know that you’re working from home. Other people around you might not see it the same way. If you have a pet in the house, they just see you as being there to feed and play with them, and they’ll be a constant distraction. A partner who finishes work early, or takes a day off when you’re working from home, can be a real distraction. Not everyone sees working from home as ‘real’ work, so they think you can just bunk off when you like. Don’t let them try!
If there are other people in your home – human or animal – then work behind a closed door. You can’t communicate with animals, but if your potential distraction is human, tell them which hours you’re working from and to, and insist that they don’t disturb you during those hours. They couldn’t do it if you were at the office, so they shouldn’t do it now.
5. Prepare Meals The Night Before
Weirdly, one of the issues you might find when working from home is that you eat less than you normally would. You don’t have a set lunch time, so you work right through it because you lost track of time. Also, when you’re busy, it’s easy to tell yourself that you don’t have the time to make something fresh, so you’ll eat later. It leads to unhealthy food habits, and it’s no good for you either. You’ll run out of energy.
Make your meals the night before, so when lunch time comes around, you can just walk to the fridge and either eat them cold, or heat them up in a couple of minutes. Everybody has the time to do that; and if you think you don’t, you’re planning your days wrong! It will give you more energy to keep working through the afternoon, and it will stop you from gorging on food at night to make up for your day of starvation. It’s better for your body and mind!