Staying on task and avoiding distraction when working from home is likely to become an issue from time to time. Here are some tips to help you stay on track.
When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, many people found themselves having to adapt to working from home, in a hurry.
For some, this was a kind of silver lining to the cloud of the pandemic, and for others it was an additional challenge to be dealt with and overcome. But whether you are someone who is reluctantly working from home due to the circumstances, or whether you are a new home-based entrepreneur loving the home-office-based lifestyle, there are always certain challenges to be dealt with.
Regardless of whether you’ve had a deluxe office set up in your new terrace house extension, or are working at a small desk in the corner of your living room, simply staying on task and avoiding distraction when working from home is likely to become an issue from time to time.
Here are a few tricks for staying on task when working from home.
1. Consider the devices you are using carefully – it might be that your usual computer setup isn’t right for the task
If you find that it’s difficult for you to stay on task with what you’re meant to be doing, and keep getting distracted by assorted websites, your own photo collection, games, et cetera, there’s a good chance that you might be using the wrong device for the job.
If you are doing your work on your home computer, for example, perhaps the pre-existing psychological associations are just too strong for you to really get into a professional mindset, and stay there.
It might be that buying a simple laptop, or even a tablet, to do your work on, could be an effective way of reducing distractions. Or maybe there’s a certain app or software device you should be using that’s more streamlined, and that will allow you to avoid wasting time and energy.
2. Always figure out what the next action should be in advance
David Allen’s famous “Getting Things Done” task management and productivity method is based around a few cornerstones – one of the most important of which is the need to always know which action you should be working on next, for any given project.
If you have to constantly try and improvise on the spot and figure out what to do with your time, the tendency to procrastinate and to be distracted and worn down will likely be significantly greater.
If, on the other hand, you always have a clear idea of what your next action should be – maybe courtesy of a tool such as OmniFocus – then you can continue moving effortlessly forward, without that stumbling block in the way.
3. Time block your days in advance
It’s always more difficult to stay on task if you don’t have a clear idea of what your schedule for the day should look like, in advance.
Here’s where a great productivity tip that’s much favoured by successful entrepreneurs comes into the picture:
Time blocking is the art of dividing your day into different timeslots, dedicated to specific tasks and activities, usually using a calendar app.
By time blocking, you’ll be able to get a realistic idea of just how much you can actually expect to squeeze into a given day – and you’ll have your own guilt to contend with if you know that you’re not sticking to your schedule.