Due to COVID-19, more businesses are now exploring remote working or working from home. For some, this is the norm. For many, however, this is a whole new world full of distractions, a new set of challenges and productivity is an elusive dream. In this post, I will show you some practical ways on how to eliminate distractions while working from home. By implementing these steps, you should boost your productivity, feel more in control and get your work done to a high standard. Sound good? Let’s dive right in.
Set Up Your Work Space
It amazes me how many people don’t have a designated area for their work. Quite often people will work in the living room with the TV on in the background or even remain in bed. The first step to eliminating distraction is to have a clearly defined work area. Location, location, location!
If you’re able to, re-purpose an unused bedroom into a make-shift temporary office. If you don’t have a room, then make space in one of your rooms. Whatever you choose, just make sure you clearly define that as your workspace. You need to send a signal to your brain, that when you are in that room or area, you are ‘at work’.
Everything in its place and a place for everything
Now, in order to eliminate distraction, make sure you have everything you need in that workspace:
- Paper tray
Whatever you need, make sure you have it all. One key distraction is not having something essential to your work and then having to get up and look for something. Working from home can be the same as the office in this regard. Get everything you need!
Put Your Phone Away
The next tips for working from home are all to do with the dreaded smartphone! Let’s be honest, the biggest distraction we all have is our phone. This constantly connected digital world we live in has our phones forever pinging with notifications.
If you are wanting to do a big piece of work and you don’t want to be distracted or disturbed, then put your phone in the next room or in a drawer. It’s far enough for you not to be tempted to pick it up, and it’s close enough for you to answer in case your colleagues are ringing you. The distance should help you to alleviate the temptation to pick up and scroll.
If you do need your phone with you at all times (because of company policy) then simply put it slightly out of reach.
Use ‘Do Not Disturb’ Mode
On our phones, laptops and tablets there is something wonderful called ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode. This is a wonderful feature which means that your device will not ping or ring if you turn this feature on.
I have personally found this wonderful for when working on my laptop. There’s nothing worse than working away on a big piece of work and constantly seeing notifications popping up in the corner of your screen. Use the ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode for bigger tasks, Once you’re done, turn it off. Simple.
Turn Off Notifications
Similar to the last point, you can easily disable your notifications on all devices. This is a really under-estimated trick. Remember – you are in charge of your notifications. If you get distracted easily by constant pinging then cut the distraction off at the source. Eliminate the notifications from coming through in the first place.
How To Turn On ‘Do Not Disturb’ Mode On iPhone
I’m an iPhone user so I’ll show you how to do this on all Apple devices. (Sorry Android users!) The below example is on my iPhone XR.
- Go into Settings
- Click on ‘Do Not Disturb’
- At the top you’ll see the ‘Do Not Disturb’ option. Simply move the toggle so it’s green. If it’s green, it means it on.
- Customise ‘Who Can Call You In An Emergency’. Halfway down the screen, you’ll see a section called ‘Allow Calls From’. Click that and it will take you to the next screenshot.
- In this section, can choose who can call you whilst you’re in ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode. I have my set my system up so that my ‘Favourite’ contacts can contact me at any time (mostly my immediate family)
Put Your Phone Upside Down
If you’re still struggling, then put your phone in ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode and out it upside down. By putting your phone upside down you are sending a signal to your brain to say that you are eliminating distraction. Have a rule with yourself, that if your phone is upside down, you cannot turn it over unless you finish your next task. Using this as a visual cue can help you to set boundaries with yourself. Don’t underestimate this one. It has helped many people.
Close Down Your Internet Browser
I used to constantly have my social media open on my Google Chrome – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest etc. It was open all the time. That was a massive distraction. When switching between windows and tasks I would always find my self aimlessly scrolling through my social media. The solution? Close the damn browser! Unless your job is social media marketing, you don’t need it!
I only load up my social media on my breaks. When I’m working, I close the browser down. If you need to use an internet browser for your work, then simply do not have the social media tabs open in the first place. Only open the tabs that you need for work. Leave the rest.
Working from home doesn’t have to be a struggle. It can be one of the most productive places for you to work if you are able to manage the distractions. You’ll notice the above are mainly ‘digital distractions’. I have focused on these because they are within our control. I wouldn’t want to tell you how to manage your kids or pets – that’s up to you. But in terms of what we can control, it’s all digital. I’m sure that if you apply even 1 or 2 of these tips, you’ll see a massive difference in your productivity.