Distractions. We all have them. This is especially true for the entrepreneurial and work-from-anywhere types like me.
One of the keys to success as a work-from-anywhere type is figuring out how to manage these distractions and make them part of your workflow, instead of allowing them to sabotage your focus. It can be difficult, but by following some simple advice, you can stay productive in the face to too many “to-dos”.
Types of Distractions
Whether you run your own business, work with a virtual team, or work directly with clients, there are always “little tasks” that crop up during your day. All of these unscheduled tasks can end up fighting for your mental attention, and that can stalemate any real progress.
Some examples are:
- Instant messages from friends and work associates on your social networks
- “Emergency” emails from customers or clients
- Calls from family—because they know you’re able to answer your phone during the day
- Household chores that need to be done
- and so many more…
Setting Limits and Priorities
One of the main challenges we face as independent business owners is that many of us don’t work in a traditional office environment. Other people who work (or have worked) a standard 9-5 job might mistakenly think our time is now free to do whatever we want during the day.
Although working remotely allows us more daytime freedom compared to someone working in an office cubicle, we still have tight schedules and can’t just do whatever we want. It’s extremely important to communicate this clearly to people in your life who have a tendency to think otherwise.
Be Strict with Yourself and Others
Setting limits and priorities is one thing, but being strict enough with yourself to enforce them is where the real challenge comes into play. Some people work extremely well with total freedom, and others need rigid guidelines.
Take time to analyze yourself and determine which type of independent schedule works best for your personality. You may find that you need to set a very definitive task list the night before your work day starts in order to stay focused.
Keep in mind, this list shouldn’t include all of your outstanding tasks. You should do what works best for your personal situation. As an example, I am a work-at-home Dad, and because I know that my attention can easily get redirected to managing the children or the household, I choose ONE THING to be done every day. I often find that if I simply focus on accomplishing that one task, I feel productive, and I can move forward with the next thing on my list.
Set the Right Work Environment
Just like setting a proper schedule and creating a task list, setting the right work environment is vital. You need to create the most productive and distraction-free work environment possible for yourself.
Using myself as an example again, I find that working at the kitchen table or any communal rooms in the house doesn’t work for me. I needed to create a dedicated office area that’s closed off from the rest of the house. I created a little corner of our garage that is only to be used when I am working. I don’t allow the kids to play there, and I don’t even allow my dog to come in when I’m working. She’s just too cute—I’d want to pet her all the time!
Another method that works for many people is white noise. I used to listen to music, but I found my mind drifting while I sang along. I tried white noise, and I found it helped me to focus much better on the task at hand. It can be a useful tool for drowning out distractions around me. There is a great free Chrome browser app for white noise and you can find it here.
How Do You Manage Distractions While Working?
This is only a small sample of ways in which you can manage distractions while working. Methods vary for everyone. Let us know in the comments what works best for you.
Does managing distractions mean getting help to implement new features on your website? Do you need help managing your day-to-day website management tasks? If this is the case, drop us a line and see how we can help.