3 Home Office Distractions (and How to Conquer Them)

Staying productive when faced with the distractions common to a home office can prove challenging. The constant interruptions, temptations to do something, anything else, even your own wandering mind can throw you off track. To help keep you focused, here are some of the most common home office distractions and a few strategies to conquer them.

  1. Disorderly Conduct

A friend used to say that her apartment was never as clean as when she worked from home. An untidy, workspace can quickly kill productivity because when your mind inevitably wanders, it’s difficult to focus on anything except the lunch dishes in the sink, the laundry waiting to be put away and the unmade bed.

Solution: Dedicated Space/Time

A professional, tidy work space will help get your mind in the habit of focusing at home. Dedicate space in your home for the sole purpose of work or, start your work day with Tidy Time: 15 minutes to clean your immediate work environment. You’ll be surprised how much Tidy Time can improve your productivity.

  1. The Pop-In

Everyone working from a home office is familiar with kids, neighbors, roommates, postmen, etc. popping in for a quick chat or a simple request. And we know how much these interruptions kill our flow and productivity.

Solution: The Post-It

Post working hours and then, don’t engage with pop-ins during these times. This means not answering the door when someone knocks, and telling Johnny to come back when the little hand reaches the five. It may be difficult at first, but soon, these interrupters will change their behavior so you can keep working.

  1. Message Mayhem

Incoming messages and emails and texts are a distraction every worker faces. You see an email come in and you quickly answer it. Your phone chimes and you respond to the text. Before you know it, two hours have passed and you’re still working on the same proposal.

Solution: The Off Switch

When working on a deadline, turn off notifications from Gmail and Outlook. Or go into airplane mode if you have to. Not sure what’s sucking all your time? Work Examiner will track how you spend time on your computer. And if you discover you can’t stop scanning Twitter and Facebook, the Work Mode Chrome extension will block social media during your set business hours.

In the home office game, a few preemptive steps will help you conquer home office distractions.