When working from home, it can be tough to properly eliminate distractions. With the need to complete tasks in a timely manner, and meet deadlines, it’s important to be able to concentrate.
With more people working from home every day as companies shift to a fully remote workspace, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to determine how to stay focused working from home.
I started my full-time work-from-home journey as a freelance web and graphic designer almost a year ago now, and by now, I feel like I have learned what to do to eliminate distractions. Now, I get my work done on time and can easily focus.
Whether you’re just starting out on your work from home journey or you’ve been doing it for a while, ditching distractions is something you should learn how to do.
Here are the best ways to eliminate distractions when working from home.
1. Invest in noise-blocking headphones
To eliminate distractions, invest in noise-blocking headphones. This may sound simple, but I promise that it’s one of the best ways to hyper-focus and block out all of the other noise that you may have surrounding you while working.
One of the simplest ways to zero in on your work is to listen to music or a podcast. If you’re the kind of person who can also be distracted by a podcast, then listening to instrumental music might be the perfect solution for you.
There are many different types of noise-blocking headphones out there, but Beats Studio Wireless headphones are unlike any other on the market.
Not only can you wear them for hours and never feel any pain, but they genuinely do block out all other noise around you.
The headphones’ sound is also superb and is way better than any other headphones that I’ve tried — once, I didn’t even hear the fire alarm going off!
Beats Studio Wireless are outstanding because they have no cords, meaning it won’t get caught in your workspace at all, or tangled on your arm.
Make sure to charge them each night and enjoy a distraction-free day of work the next morning.
2. Have a few workspaces in your home or apartment
Having multiple places that you can work is key to eliminating distractions. So, if you work at home and have a family or young kids, you can always move from spot to spot if one part of the house is louder.
One of the keys to having this work properly is to make sure that the multiple workspaces are actually set up at a desk or a table. If you work on your bed or on a couch, then you’re going to risk your productivity.
An easy way to fix this is to invest in tray tables or a desk table that you can move with you all over the house. If you’re lucky and also have outdoor space at your home or apartment, then you could even set up a possible workspace outside as well.
Fresh air and getting outside is a great way to refocus.
Another way to have multiple workspaces is to have a portable desk and chair that you can easily set up in numerous places around your house or apartment.
This way, you’ll never be limited to working in just one spot. Once the noise becomes too much to handle, you can just move to another room.
3. Create a schedule and make sure everyone you live with knows about it
While creating a schedule is one of the best ways to boost motivation and time management, it’s also how to stay focused working from home.
Scheduling can honestly be as simple as keeping a to-do list next to your desk, so you know what you have to get through for the day.
A more advanced method of scheduling is to use Google Calendar, which is my personal favourite way of staying on top of everything I have to do.
With Google Calendar, you can block out chunks of your day for each of your tasks or clients, helping you stay on task instead of doing other things throughout the day.
The minute I started keeping a to-do list on Google Calendar, I got so much better at powering through my tasks every day.
Knowing that I had a deadline and was supposed to work on an article from 2 to 3 p.m. made me feel like I had to get through it during that time. This helped me stop working late into the night.
If you work in a house with other people, like your family or roommates, you need to make sure that they know your schedule.
They obviously don’t need to know every detail of your day, but they should know when you generally like to get work done so that they don’t distract you during that time.
4. Get dressed every day
One of the easiest ways to minimize distractions while working from home that’s often overlooked is to get dressed as if you were going to the office.
This doesn’t mean that you have to wear your favourite suit every day, but you should at least look presentable like you were going to leave the house, even if you aren’t.
If you stay in your pyjamas all day, you are going to be a lot less likely to want to get work done. You’ll still be in complete lounge mode, so you won’t want to focus and may even get distracted more than usual.
When I first started my freelance career full-time, I was fresh out of college and was pretty happy to finally be able to wear comfortable clothes all day long.
But, the second I started dressing for work every day, I was way less distracted and focused on my job a whole lot more.
You may be the type of person that absolutely loves wearing comfy clothes, and that’s okay. Honestly, if you at least change your clothes from what you wore to bed and have a morning routine, then you’ll start to be able to focus more each day while working from home.
A great way to eliminate distractions when working from home is to have set work periods.
This is different than having a schedule and managing your to-do list every day, in that you want to have set periods where you do nothing but hyper-focus on what you have to do for the day.
I like to do this early in the morning, around 9 a.m. After I check my emails for the day, I’ll exit out of all messaging platforms, including social media, and will turn off all computer notifications. Then, I’ll focus solely on a task or two until it’s completely done.
There’s no better feeling than power housing through a task to the end without being distracted once. More often than not, our biggest distractions are our clients or our co-workers, which we may not even realize.
Find the time you feel most productive each day and turn that into a strict no notification time.
Don’t answer any emails, respond to any messages, or anything else. You’ll find that it will make a massive difference in your day, and you’ll feel good being able to get through a task without a single distraction from anyone.
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6. Have a separate work computer
Having a separate work computer is a great way to stop distractions when working from home.
I recently did this myself. As a freelancer, I invested in a desktop computer for all of my client work, and I strictly use it only for any tasks relating to my business. This is also where I store all of my files for my clients and log into my client accounts.
Meanwhile, I have a laptop, which I use solely for fun. I use it for blogging, watching Netflix, and catching up on social media when I need to. It also stores all of my photos and travel memories so that they don’t get mixed up with any of my client files.
This has been an enormous help in my business ever since I started doing it.
While it can be costly, it can help you stay focused and eliminate distractions pretty easily. You’re less likely to scroll through Facebook when you’re not logged into it on your work computer.
There are also apps out there that you can use to block certain websites on your computer, helping you focus more. So, when you head to your favourite social media website, you’ll find you can’t access it during certain hours.
7. Consider working different hours
If you’re wondering how to stay focused working from home, you could always consider working different hours.
A lot of remote companies allow their employees to pick the hours that they’d like to work. If you’re a freelancer, this will be a bit easier, but it is still possible.
For instance, if you know that everyone in your house is home and is super loud during the hours of 12 to 5 p.m., you could consider getting work done in the morning before they are up, then take a break while they are home, and get back to work later in the evening.
This, of course, works better for people who are great at staying on top of their work and don’t mind having a break halfway through the day — before finishing up at night.
I’ve found that it works great for me, mostly because I tend to experience a work lull around 2 p.m. where I suddenly lose focus and can’t power through tasks!
You could also consider working early mornings if you’re a morning person.
Not many people wake up super early in the morning, so eliminating distractions at this time of day is way too easy. You’ll most likely not even get emails or any types of notifications at this time of day, so you’ll be able to simply focus on your tasks.
8. Exercise and take breaks to motivate yourself
Exercising and taking breaks is what to do to eliminate distractions during your workday. After taking a break, you can return to work even more focused than before. Being able to burn off some steam, stretch your legs and get some fresh air is key to being able to concentrate throughout the day.
Going on a walk around your neighbourhood or biking to your local grocery store so you can run some errands can help you clear your mind and leave the strains of work behind.
This is a bit easier if you’re a freelancer, but if you work from home as a remote employee, you could use your planned breaks to do this as well.
Other options for exercising while working from home include yoga, HIIT workouts, investing in exercise equipment (I did this, and it helps immensely), or getting a gym membership nearby.
When it comes around to break time, you need to make sure that you take it. Too many people who work from home do so directly through their breaks, thinking that they have to remain productive.
Little do they know that doing something like this can only make you less productive.
Your mind needs a rest. Take the break to relax and focus on other things going on in your life. When you return, you’ll feel well-rested, and you’re more likely to block out other distractions.
9. Put your phone away except for breaks
A great way to reduce distractions is to put your phone away while you’re working. This may be easier said than done, but even if you put it away for a certain period of time, it can help you focus on your tasks so much more.
Phones are continually buzzing with updates, whether from social media, a friend, or your doctor’s office reminding you about your upcoming appointments.
It can be hard to focus with a phone always lurking near your hand on your desk, and that’s, unfortunately, the world that we live in.
Put your phone on silent and hide it away from your sight. If you can see it and have notifications on it, you can still easily be distracted by it, and you still may want to check it out regularly.
One of my favourite tactics is to leave it in another room completely, or I’ll hide it away in one of the desk drawers that I’m not likely to touch at all.
Putting it in another room helps a lot because you have to actually get up from your desk, and make the conscious decision to go and check your phone.
Of course, you can still have your phone out during your breaks. Sometimes, checking social media is the best way to unwind. However, you’ll want to be sure not to distract yourself with work notifications during your break. It’s a hard line to walk!
10. Go to a public workspace
Lastly, in addition to having multiple workspaces in your home, consider going to a public workspace to eliminate distractions. While you may think that you have to pay to go to a public place to work, that’s not the case.
There are quite a few places you can work publicly for free, especially if you live in a city or near one.
Libraries are always a great option, and they have free wifi and lots of places to situate yourself. Plus, they’re always quiet so that you won’t get distracted.
Some of my best work is done in libraries! Of course, if you live in a city, you’ll want to get there earlier in the day because it can be hard to get a spot as the day goes on, especially near an outlet so you can charge your electronics.
Coffee shops, even ones like Starbucks, can also be a great place to work. Plugs are everywhere, and you can get yourself some coffee, but they can be a bit louder, so consider bringing noise-blocking headphones.
If you don’t necessarily need the internet, another option is to head to a public garden. They usually have lots of seating options, and you’ll be able to get some fresh air during your workday.
If you have money to spend, you could also invest in a co-working space. Most major cities worldwide now have them, and they come with so many amenities that make the price well worth it, especially if you invest in a hot desk membership.
Now you know how to eliminate distractions when working from home. Because there are so many tactics and everyone’s home working situation is different, don’t be afraid to try out a few methods until you find the one that sticks.
I wish you luck with your work from home journey!
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