Work-from-home is the new norm. As the dynamics of every industry is rapidly changing, our dependency on the Internet is increasing day-by-day. Add to that, the social media addiction and its comparison trap have us further confused, we often lose a lot of time being distracted from work while looking at an unrealistic news feed.
Technology can work for us or against us. The endless notifications, social media posts which you can’t help but scroll through, and the consumption of video content eats up into your day. And before you know it, you’ve lost many hours in mindless scrolling.
As an independent entrepreneur, I know that I need to stay focused during the day. I also need to curb the distractions to ensure I keep track of my progress. Yes, I do sneak in a cute cat video during the day, but, let’s face it! The lesser the distractions, the better it is for you.
5 Ways to Avoid Distractions in the Work-from-Home Profile
1) Technology to Build your To-Do List
Use apps or plain paper notes, but build that list. Make a plan for the day. Have a small goal. Know how much you can accomplish while allowing some time for relaxation. When you take a break, ensure the break is away from your work desk. This means you give yourself breathing space while investing your break time into something fruitful.
Do check the list at the end of the day. This gives an indicator of your mini-achievements while laying out a plan for the next day.
2) Ask yourself, “What’s important to you”
Yes, cutting back on social media usage is an obvious way to reduce distraction while working from home. However, it’s no use if you don’t understand the issue at the root cause itself. No matter how many apps you download to monitor your usage of social media or block some apps entirely, you must define what’s good for you. Know whether the endless scrolling is adding any value to you. How does it help you to progress towards your goal? This will give you the answer to limit your distractions.
3) Turn off the Internet on multiple devices
We use more than 1 screen at a time. It’s common to access the smartphone and look up notifications while being seated with your laptop at the desk. Do you honestly need the smartphone? Regulate the notification check every 30 minutes. Turn off your email notifications. Delete apps you don’t use. And, use the WiFi only on the device that you are currently working on.
(I’ve switched off the connection from my smartphone as it is quite distracting because you tend to respond to messages, look up status updates, get app notifications, and more! As some notifications are important, I can’t turn them off but can disable the Internet for a while to regulate the usage.)
4) Write a motivational message to yourself
This is one of my favorites. To ensure that you stay focused while working-from-home, you can use a marker to write a motivational message or a thought-provoking message on your whiteboard to remind yourself. If you don’t have a whiteboard, use chart paper or any paper you would like to reuse, and tape it next to your work desk. Ask yourself, “Is what I am doing adding growth to my work? Does it add more value to my life?” Once you connect deeply with these messages, the need to be distracted will fade away into the background.
5) Break your day into clusters
A simple way to organize your work and minimize distractions is to organize that to-do list even further. Are you productive in the morning hours? Does the post-lunch period slow you down? Get to know yourself and your working style. Accordingly, set time aside for the day. Here’s how you can plan it depending upon your preferred style.
- Complex tasks for the morning hours
- Meetings post-lunch
- Creative work for the evening hours
- Email replies at night
Take a couple of breaks in between to connect with nature, do one house chore that doesn’t take much time (now that is evident as you are working from home!), and connect with a friend on a call.
It’s simple! You can download all the apps you want to monitor your usage but you cannot move ahead unless you resolve the deep-rooted issue.
- What is your need for distraction?
- What makes you procrastinate important duties?
- What’s stopping you from staying focused?
Have you prepared short-term and long-term goals? (If you’re confused, it’s totally fine. We all take time to figure this one out.)
How productive has your month been? (In terms of work, personal life)
Once you figure out the basics, you will remove all the unnecessary distractions just as I did! Use the power of technology towards your benefit. Don’t let it consume you.
Have questions? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org or write in the comments below.