How to Overcome 3 Common Work-From-Home Distractions

If you work at home, you're faced, every day, with a flood of distractions that will severely reduce your productivity if you don't get a handle on them quickly. Productivity translates directly into dollars – so, every time the phone rings, you lose money.

Here are the three most common work-at-home distractions and our suggestions for overcoming them:

  1. The phone

    If you work at home, everyone feels they can call you about every imaginable subject, none of which is work related. Here's how to silence the nagging ring:

    Adopt the mental attitude that you are at work. This is the most important way to deal with all distractions. Lose the automatic "I have to answer it" response.

    Use Caller ID and/or screen all calls with an answering machine. If the call is not work-related (or a REAL emergency), let your message machine answer it. If you were at work in an office, you would not take personal calls – so don't let this time-sucker ruin your productivity.

  2. Your family

    Again, your chief protection is your attitude. The first step is to establish your own work-at-home schedule and stick to it!

    If you have older children who do not need constant supervision, instruct them (and your spouse) that from 9 am until noon and from 1 until 5 pm (or whatever), you are at work and CANNOT be disturbed.

    If you have younger children who need supervision, look into appropriate childcare. You could even contract to have it done in your home. Again, your attitude is the key to your success in reducing this distraction.

  3. Housework, building projects, "honey-do" lists

    Once again, this is a matter of your attitude. You are at WORK. If you were at the mall working at McDonald's, you would not be able to clean the bathroom or do an oil change. So you CANNOT do it if you are in your home office.

Just remember, no one will take your working at home seriously unless you do. So ignore those distractions that will suck you dry.

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Published: March 22, 2004

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