Although working from home allows you to set the schedule that will make you your most productive, the distractions that come with a home environment can eliminate those gains if you don’t know how to manage them. That’s why we created this list of the top five ways to minimize the most common distraction culprits.
1. Quiet the Kids (and Your Loving S.O.)
Your family probably doesn’t disturb you at the office with questions they can ask you when you get home. But if home is your office, they may not show the same restraint. One way to prevent ongoing conversation during work hours is to create a work “stoplight.” This stoplight will let family members know (without asking!) whether you’re busy (red), available to important requests (yellow), or open to conversation (green). Setting boundaries with family members is key to maximizing the hours you do work, so you can finish your audios quickly and fully-engage with family more often.
2. Use the Moon During the Day 🌙
If you are an iPhone user, you may have seen a little half moon symbol in your control center settings. This “do not disturb” button is an essential way to prevent the distractions that constantly pop up in the form of a little ping that takes our attention. A scientific study published in 2015 found that cell phone notifications have a striking impact on focus and concentration, even if you don’t choose to interact with the notification by responding to the message or answering the call. For that reason, preventing these alerts during work hours is key. To do that, use these directions for iPhone or Android users to set your phone to “do not disturb.”
3. Avoid P.A.I.N.
Even though Facebook takes the heat as the worst workplace distraction, there are plenty of other places to get online entertainment that can suck hours, not minutes of your time. Can you think of the last time you scrolled Pinterest past midnight? Or binged 5+ episodes of a Netflix series? Oftentimes we can visit a site like Facebook and satisfy our social media craving in less than 10 minutes, but sites like Pinterest, Amazon, Instagram and Netflix (P.A.I.N.) can absorb our time in massive chunks.
To avoid these mega distractions, close excess computer tabs and don’t put something on “in the background.” Instead, use these fun online destinations as a reward once you’re completely done with your transcription for the day.
4. Silence the Squeaky Toys
When you starting spending more time at home, your furry friends may pounce on the opportunity to have you all to themselves. Even though it’s hard to say no to those sad, puppy dog (or kitty-cat!) eyes, keeping pets occupied while you’re working is essential. To help make this a little easier, spend one of your breaks taking Spot for a walk, or playing with Mr. Mittens. This will help tire them out and make lazing around the house with a (non-squeaky) toy seem like a good way to spend the hours you’re working.
5. Postpone Chore Duty
For many people who work at home, little tasks around the house can be a tempting way to put off more essential work. Are you dreading that long audio? Suddenly, the dirty dishes in the sink may start to look like welcome change of pace. Unfortunately, starting one household chore can create a domino effect that has you polishing countertops an hour later.
You can remove (or minimize) housework as a distraction by creating a list of high-priority, household tasks before your start your work day. That way, you can knock them out in short order as soon as your audios are complete.
Other ways to escape if you’re dealing with distractions:
- Go to a coworking space or coffee shop. Sure, you might look a little strange setting up your foot pedal, but sometimes getting outside the house is the only way to finish the day’s work. Just beware of exposing yourself to a new set of distractions like buzzing blenders or chattering customers.
- Get a pair of high end, noise-cancelling headphones. This idea works twofold: It completely eliminates external sounds, so you can get in the zone, and it helps you hear audios more clearly, so you can complete them out ASAP!
- Take a break if the source of the noise is likely to go away soon. Use the time to take a walk or read a book and recharge, so you can return to work with renewed focus.