SQUIRREL! Constant Distractions While Working from Home


We all have those moments of ADD…

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down to write a blog post and then get distracted by something else…

For instance, I wrote that first line, then had to go restart the washing machine. After coming back, I couldn’t remember my thought process, so I left it there and started on the second line. This time, LaMesa wanted outside.

See what I mean? Constant distractions! There are times I feel like my dogs: We’ll be going for a walk in the neighborhood, just trotting along relaxed and happy, when suddenly…. SQUIRREL!

I remember when I first got engaged, the first few weeks I was distracted at my computer when I’d start typing and the office lights would catch my ring…OOOoooo shiny!

Now that I’m working from home, the distractions are easier to come by. For instance, on Thursday I sat down to transcribe some interviews. Everything was perfect: the dogs were quiet, I had the radio on, M was asleep–I could easily get these four interviews transcribed and write some blog posts before lunch time.

That is, until I noticed how (disgustingly) dirty our house was. When was the last time I did a heavy duty cleaning? I tried to ignore the dirt, but then finally I couldn’t stand it any more. I put up my computer and commenced a massive house cleaning. After a couple of hours, the house was cleaned, the lawn mowed, and lunch was eaten. M had woken up and we went to the gym, then my evening was packed. Needless to say, nothing got done.

So I thought I’d look up some tips on how to manage distractions while working from home, to help me and maybe help you as well:

  1. Make a schedule and stick to it. The best way to be productive is to actually have a plan. I’m still doing my workouts in the morning, then walking the dogs. After my shower, that’s when I buckle down to focus on the tasks at hand (which I go over in my mind during our dog walks, figuring out what needs to be done today and in what order.
  2. Separate yourself from potential distractions. This is where having an actual office would be nice. On pretty days, though, I’ve been spending mornings out on the back deck working until the battery runs low on my MacBook. That’s when I know it’s time to take a break.
  3. Be honest with people about your work schedule. Many think that just because you’re working from home means you can easily go to lunch at any time, or chat on the phone whenever. If you’re in the middle of a project, be honest and let them know you’ll get back to them when you’re done.
  4. Have some quiet background music going. Sometimes this works for some people, and sometimes it doesn’t. I find that I write better when I have a constant stream of music on (little to no commercials, so no radio). I can’t handle complete silence.

Now it’s time for me to really focus on today’s tasks.

Your turn: Share your tips for handling distractions while working from home, or even in the office!

I found this here and thought it was hilarious!

I found this here and thought it was hilarious!

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3 thoughts on “SQUIRREL! Constant Distractions While Working from Home

  1. You are preaching to the choir. There are many things I like about working from home, but I find that I’m more productive in a traditional office. I’m too easily distracted by things like Facebook, Twitter, emails, etc and having someone looking over my shoulder is a good kick in the butt to stay focused. I do like that I can multitask. So much of our job is waiting for people to return calls. I like that while I wait for those calls to be returned, I can empty the dishwasher or prep stuff for dinner. I like that if I’m not feeling well, I can sleep a bit later and do my work in my PJs unshowered. I’ve been fighting distractions since I began working from home two years ago. In many ways, I’m just not suited to it full time. I’d be better off working in an office and then doing a day or two a week from home.

  2. Oy. I can totally relate to this entire post, and I technically don’t work from home. But when I am working from home I’ve found I can’t work if I have someone talking to me or if things are messy. I’ve found it’s best for me to just clean before I start, then after a few hours, take a mental break — going outside, taking a drive, working out — something that clears my mind.

  3. This blog entry made me chuckle. And then I got to the cartoon drawing, and I remembered why I didn’t sign up for Facebook or Twitter in my first four-year round of working from home. I, too, get way too distracted, way too easily. I’m also a major procrastinator–I always say that my house is never so clean as right before a big deadline!

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