What distracts you when you work from home?

Are you more productive when you work from home than you were when you worked in an office? Here are the working from home distractions, as revealed in a survey by iVillage.co.uk:
The Kitchen
The children
Personal calls and visits
Housework
The skiving urge

“The first thing you must do when working from home is set up a designated work space”, says Ronita Dutta, editor at iVillage.co.uk. “By having a designated work area, you are mentally putting yourself in an office environment even if you don’t have a separate room. This is especially important for women who work from home as they tend to want to multitask to save time”.

Ronita who worked from home as a journalist for two years is an expert on avoiding temptation; here are her tips for getting the job done:

Distraction: The kitchen

As you struggle with a tough work project, you manage to distract yourself by popping into the kitchen and eat six cheese sticks, five biscuits, one leftover piece of birthday cake, crisps, etc. And you never knew you were capable of drinking so much coffee!

Prevention:
Bring healthy treats into your work space to discourage frequent and fattening trips to the fridge. Crunchy cut-up veggies, whole-grain crackers and dried fruits help satisfy cravings when you’re in the mood to munch. Try to drink water. But if you can’t work without several cups of coffee or tea, stick to decaf or herbal teas, and bring a thermos into your office so you don’t have to venture near the kitchen.

Distraction: Your children
You started working at home to spend more time with them, but now you can’t get away from them. Even when you do manage to convince children that, ‘Mummy needs to work,’ the interruptions are endless. You abandon all business tasks until the kids are in bed and then pull an all-nighter trying to get everything done.

Prevention:
Set a work schedule and get some child care. A regular work routine helps you set boundaries between work and family life, so that you block out the time you want to spend with your children and keep it sacred. Having part-time child care will allow you to work uninterrupted. Soon, your children will learn to respect your work hours, and you’ll have plenty of planned times where you can play with them guilt-free.

Distraction: Calls and visits during work time
You’re at your desk when the phone rings and it’s mum telling you about uncle Bob. Then, the door bell rings, and it’s the neighbour, who thought this would be a good time for coffee.

Prevention:
Learn to say no. Have polite phrases at the ready to deter people from zapping your work time. For example, tell the neighbour: ‘I’m sorry, but today’s a work day and I really must get back to my desk. Let’s get together when I’m off duty.’

Distraction: Housework
You’re supposed to be making cold calls, finishing off a document or preparing a business plan, but instead you’ve done three loads of washing, cleaned out the kids’ cupboards and washed every window in the house.

Prevention:
Enlist family members to help with household chores outside of office hours.

Even young kids can help load the dishwasher or sort clothes for the laundry. Older children can be responsible for clearing the dinner table, taking out the rubbish and collecting recyclables. Also, talk with your spouse about sharing household chores, and designate the ones each of you will be responsible for.

Distraction: The skiving urge
You should be working at your desk, but you’d really rather be tinkering in the garden, popping out to the grocer for lunch. Before you know it, you’re out the door, with stacks of unfinished work projects left behind.

Prevention:
Hang ‘Not Now, I’m Working’ signs, in tempting areas to nudge you back to your desk. If gardening is your downfall, tack one of the signs to your gardening gloves or tape one to the steering wheel of your car to keep you from heading to the shops.

“It’s all about time management,” continues Dutta. “Especially when you’re working from home, it is important to plan ahead. Be sure to write into your diary upcoming school holidays so you complete important projects before the holidays sneak up on you.”

“Or before the kids get up, log in and send out any emails you didn’t finish the day before or complete easy work tasks that don’t need any concentration time”.

See www.familyfriendlyworking.co.uk for more help working from home.

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~ by Antonia Chitty on September 17, 2008.

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