It’s been said that most people need 18-20 minutes to get focused on their tasks, but hardly a day goes by when you get to minute 18 without being interrupted by your phone, a Facebook alert or the mail carrier. Use these tips to combat future interruptions:
1. Keep a time log
If you’re not sure where your time is going, keep a time log for a week and then analyze it.
2. Put your phone on silent
Put technology to work for you by turning your phone to silent or vibrate so you can scan all calls to see whether the need answering or if the call can just go to voice-mail.
3. Turn your phone off
If there’s no reason anyone needs to be in contact with you, just turn your phone off. This works great for times when you’re on deadline and need to get something done in an hour.
4. Ignore the doorbell
Unless you’re expecting a package that requires your signature, ignore the doorbell. This will give no-so-understanding neighbors the hint that you really do work at home.
5. Consider going to a co-working office
These allow people to have an office away from their home office. Consider spending a day or two in a private office once a week, so you’re not disturbed by a well-meaning partner or kids.
6. Skip the coffee shop and library
Being able to work from anywhere is a great perk–except when you’ve got work that needs done. When you really need some peace and quiet, skip noisy, social places like coffee shops, bookstores and libraries.
7. Take advantage of your partners work schedule
If you don’t like your partner or kids knocking on the door or making noise while you’re working, schedule your time to work while they’re away at work or school.
8. Use noise-canceling headphones
For those noisy days when everyone’s home, or if you get distracted by the smallest noise, consider headphones to block out the noises.
9. Schedule meetings for the end of the workday
If you’re part of a mastermind group, have clients to touch base with or a boss to report to, schedule those for the last hour of your day so that you don’t have to stop mid-task because it’s time for a phone call.
10. Block certain websites
Use website blockers to prevent you from visiting certain sites during a set period of time. There are several websites that allow you to “ban” yourself from sites that are “time sucks.
11. Leave one day open for appointments
Working from home is wonderful because you can go get your hair done, do the grocery shopping and meet with your accountant at off-peak hours. Have one set day that you devote to appointments and any office housekeeping tasks.
12. Inform your family, friends and neighbors of your schedule
Let them know that while you love being around, you do need to get work done and that their cooperation is necessary if they do want to be able to spend time with you during your non-working hours.
13. Have a specific time to check email and social media
Limit this to once or twice a day for a fixed amount of time.
14. Turn off the technology
If you find that you continually have problems being distracted by the internet, turn it off and do your work without it.
15. Have a “work time” play box for kids
If kids must be around while you’re working, have a box of toys that they only get to play with during this time.