Guest Post by Holly Reisem Hanna
For many women working at home is the ideal situation; earning money for doing something that you love, spending more time with your family and financial freedom and security, but working at home also has it challenges. One of the most frequent complaints from women who work at home is the constant distractions of family members, household chores and other temptations like the TV, however with a little planning and due diligence, distractions can be kept at bay.
Here’s how to get started eliminating the distractions in your home.
Create a Schedule for Yourself: When working at home it is easy to get distracted by the laundry, household chores, TV and other family members that require your attention. Start by setting regular office hours, this allows you to create a time slot for each of the day’s activities and it communicates to others when your work-time and play-time is. If you have small children you may need to schedule your work around their naps or another caregiver’s schedule so that you can have a good chunk of time to work uninterrupted. By creating a schedule you create a place for all of the activities in your day keeping you on track.
Make a To-Do List: Have you ever sat in front of your computer pondering what task you should tackle first – and the next thing you know you’ve spent an hour distracted by emails, phone calls and social media? To avoid wasted time, create a to-do list the night before (remember to prioritize your tasks), this way you have clear idea in your head of what you need to accomplish and you don’t sit around wasting time getting started.
Turn off the Noise: TV, email notifications, phone calls, pets, children and spouses are some of the constant distractions people face when they are trying to work at home. By creating a separate office space you can work in a clean and quiet environment where you’re able to at least eliminate the constant reminders of household chores. Next filter out unnecessary noise producers by shutting the office door and turning off email notifications and cell phones. By creating a work environment that is free from distractions you are more easily able to focus on the task at hand.
Manage Your Email: By far the biggest distraction for home-based employees. Start managing your inbox by only replying to emails twice a day, once in the morning and again in the afternoon. Communicate to others what times you answer your emails by setting up an autoresponder. Next, set up filters so that only priority emails go into your inbox and unsubscribe from unnecessary newsletters and subscriptions. Last, create templates for frequently communicated items.
Buy Time, Not Things: To alleviate distractions like household chores and cooking, stop purchasing stuff and spend a little money buying some extra time for you. Try using a house cleaning service, a personal concierge to run errands, or a menu delivery service to take unwanted tasks from your to-do list. This will allow your mind to stopping focusing on your household activities and start focusing on your business.
Stop Multitasking: For most of our lives we have been taught to multi-task, and in some situations it is called for, but the majority of the time it ends up being inefficient. By single-tasking, you can fully focus on the task at hand and complete it without interruptions. Give yourself a block of time to complete the task, and stop trying to watch the news, catch up on email and answer phone calls, you’ll be surprised at how much more efficient you’ll become.
Distractions are a normal part of working at home, but with a little planning and due diligence you can be successful and thrive while working at home.
Holly Reisem Hanna is the Founder and Publisher of The Work at Home Woman; an award winning blog dedicated to helping women and moms fulfill their dreams of working from home and/or becoming self-employed, while providing inspiration, motivation and support. For more information please see: http://www.theworkathomewoman.com/