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How do you stay focused when working from home?

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I find that I don't make as much as I would like because I am constantly distracted by things like social media, Netflix and online games.
asked Aug 16, 2015 in Home Based Business by Johnresa (33,810 points)
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Working from home is a huge challenge for me. If I let myself (and I sometimes do), I would work all day and all night without taking a break. However, when I do this, I am often distracted by anything that pops into my head, which seriously cuts down on my productivity.

 

I find that I am most productive and focused when I use the Pomodoro technique. The Pomodoro technique is a time management method where you work for a set period of time, take a break for a set period of time, continue working for the same set period of time, and so on.

 

Most people use the following for their work and break times - 20 minutes for work, five minutes for a break.

 

If you've never heard of this method it might sound overly simple, but it really does work. I get more done when I use this method than when I don't, and it forces me to stay focused on the task at hand because I know I only have 20 minutes to work on it before I take a break.

 

There are plenty of software apps that you can install on your computer and/or mobile device that use this or variations of this method. Some programs are simple, while others have additional features that you might or might not need or want.

 

I have a Mac computer and use a program called BreakTime. I chose it after trying several other programs because it is extremely easy to use, doesn't have unwanted extras, and it has the option to lock up my computer after the work time is up and it won't unlock until the break time is over.

 

Each time I am locked off my computer I get up and work on cleaning my house for five minutes. I am always shocked by how much I can get done around the house in such small time periods. I am even more shocked by how focused I am on my work.

 

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomodoro_Technique

answered Aug 17, 2015 by Neeznoodle (7,080 points)
selected Aug 24, 2015 by Johnresa
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Working from home has its perks - we get to choose when to work, where to work, and how much work we do and still get enough time to spend with our family. However, there are disadvantages too, and one of which is the common problem experienced by many. It's not just you - the majority of people who work from home may struggle concentrating, mainly because we don't have a boss who is constantly looking over us. I found myself in your shoes a couple of months ago, after giving birth - with the baby and everything that's going on, and I told myself, this has got to stop. 

 

I used to work whenever I want, and wherever I want - literally. I have an iPad and a laptop, and if I felt like working in my bedroom, I would, but I figured it doesn't help. I'm being too comfortable, and with that, I tend to fall asleep easily, which is a bad thing. Which is why I figured I have to setup a home office [1]. Have a separate room, or at least a corner where you'll work and stay there. This way, you'll stop feeling too comfortable, allowing you to concentrate and do your work.

 

Setting a work schedule is the next best thing that you can do at this point. We know that working from home gives us the freedom to work whenever we want, but if you set a work schedule, you'll be motivated to hit your goals and finish your work for the day. [2] This doesn't mean that you're tied up to your schedule - feel free to change often, if you find the need to. It doesn't matter what your schedule is - what matters is that you stick to it.

 

Some experts would say to get dressed up for work - although I don't normally practice this one, I make sure that I at least get out from my jammies. 

 

Since you've mentioned that you get distracted with social media, games, etc, it's best to separate your work with some of your gadgets. For instance, I make sure that I turn my phone off, or set to do not disturb so Facebook notifications won't pop up on my phone. I also make sure that I close Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube whenever working! As long as it's within my scheduled work hours, those sites would have to wait. If you're playing console games, try and make sure that your console is not in the same room where you work.

 

 

[1] http://www.forbes.com/pictures/efkk45eljlk/have-a-set-work-space-2/

 

[2] http://www.businessinsider.com/tips-to-stay-motivated-while-working-from-home-2013-10

answered Aug 16, 2015 by mrsaustria (13,230 points)
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Working from home isn’t as glamourous or as easy as those who’ve never done it tend to think, and distraction plays a huge part in whether or not we succeed. One of the biggest reasons we get distracted working from home or anywhere else is that when faced with challenging tasks, our minds tend to want an escape. [1] Removing your distractions from being front and center while you work is a start, but it won't necessarily make you stop thinking about them.

 

The most helpful way of staying focused for me is to make simple goals that are easily accomplishable. I jot a few things down in the morning and add stuff throughout the day. I make sure to keep it realistic so that I don't feel overwhelmed. For example, listing “work on novel” doesn’t work for me because writing the Great American Novel seems like an insurmountable task, and I’m likely to just stare at that until nightfall when it becomes painfully clear I haven’t done anything that gets me closer to meeting that goal. However, if I write something like “write a couple paragraphs,” that doesn’t seem so daunting, and I can easily whip through that and maybe even do more. I might even scratch it off my list and then put it right back on.

 

Baby steps also make you think about the bigger picture, whether you realize it or not. Breaking down larger tasks into small ones lets you think things through, which is often half the battle in getting anything done. [2]

 

1. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/20/jobs/to-avoid-distractions-at-work-hit-the-reset-button.html?_r=0

 

2. http://lifehacker.com/5793211/trick-yourself-into-working-by-breaking-down-tasks-to-a-for-dummies-level

answered Aug 17, 2015 by Alexis Arden (43,230 points)
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It can definitely be difficult to stay on task when you are working from home, especially if you're your own boss. Netflix is also a distraction of mine, that's for sure. I find that I typically work faster during the daytime or in the wee hours of the night while everyone else is asleep. For one, people are much less likely to distract you if you're burning the midnight oil or working early in the morning. Other distractions are also less likely to come into play as well. 

 

 

One thing you can do to keep yourself on task is to prioritize a daily to-do list and schedule. Say you get to work when you wake up in the morning. Well, do you really? Everyone has their morning or wake-up routines, and these can often eat into your work time, especially if you love to procrastinate like I do. Considering people are creatures of habit, it's best to try and stick to a set schedule and make out a to-do list to make sure you've accomplished the day's workload. [1]

 

Another thing you can do is act like you're going to a 'real job.' [2] I have had to do this before, mainly because even my dog is a distraction, as he constantly looks up at me, thinking since I'm paying attention to the computer, it must not be something important. If you get out of the house, not every day, but on occasion, you'll find that you might just be more productive. Furthermore, you'll be ready for those work days inside the home with fresh vigor and a different mindset. 

 

Breaks

 

Breaks may seem like the last thing you want to think about if you're trying to stay on task; however, they are all too important so that you stay fresh, focused and 'on task.' Albeit, they need to be small breaks, unless you've got errands to run or it's time for lunch. You can use a timer for your breaks, and you can also use a timer to keep yourself on task and motivated during work hours as well. [2]

 

Sources:

 

1. http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/70836 

 

2. http://www.newblood.com/blog/5-tips-to-stay-focused-and-efficient-while-working-from-home/

answered Aug 17, 2015 by JLettermanMB (43,320 points)

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