Distraction is quite a common occurrence for all the remote workers out there. Working remotely is incredibly productive but you should approach it the right way.
One of the major pitfalls of working remotely is the fact that there are so many distractions to contend with, succumbing to them will see your productivity wane.
Not only do you need to keep known, and potential distractions down to a minimum, you also have to be well-prepared to deal with them.
With that being said, let’s take a look at eight of the biggest distractions that remote workers face (in no particular order), as well as our top productivity tips to help you tackle said remote work distractions as they inevitably arise.
1. Having A Poor Working Environment
To ensure that you stay in “work mode” throughout the day, every remote worker needs a comfortable, and organised workstation.
Make sure you have all the required items at a hand, especially a cup of coffee or another beverage you like to keep you fresh.
Constantly getting up to grab things that should have been to hand from the start is an easy way to find yourself distracted.
If you are using cafés (or any public space) for your remote work, make sure you pack the things you need, and also be wary of having a cluttered desk.
It might seem obvious, but making just small changes in terms of becoming more organised in your remote work can see your productivity levels soar.
2. Lacking A Proper Schedule
As with any job, but especially important with remote work, try to schedule your work in advance to make sure you have the entire picture of the work to be done. This motivates you to get them done in a timely manner, since you know that you have to complete a certain amounts of tasks allocated for the day. The idea is to protect yourself against the situation where you ask yourself: “What’s next?”
Our brains are extremely adept at picking something that we shouldn’t really be doing when we ask ourselves that question – procrastination and distraction are at risk of creeping in at any time you change tasks.
We have a list of a variety of best mac apps that will boost productivity and come handy to you as you plan your tasks.
Multitasking doesn’t seem like a big deal at first, but overtime you will notice how it takes longer to concentrate on something specific. It’s easier to do one task at a time and finish it sooner, rather than do a couple of tasks at the same time and be done way later.
If you’re working from home and there are other family members around, kindly warn them that you are working and you can’t be distracted. They wouldn’t be able to distract you if you had a traditional job, so it’s important to draw the boundaries for remote job as well. This you will be able to increase your productivity.
4. Not Taking Regular Breaks
It might seem counterintuitive, but taking regular, structured breaks can actually make you more productive. Moving away from the task at hand for “five minutes” here and there can see you easily distracted from your work for more than the initially intended “five minutes”. The key is to schedule short breaks, at regular intervals throughout the day.
What you do in your break time is also very important. Instead of playing your favourite browser game, get up and away from your computer.
A good way to refresh your mind, and rest your eyes is to go for a little walk around your home/outside for 10 minutes. When you come back to your workstation after your break, you should be raring to go.
5. Mobile Phone Notifications
When you are working remotely, you need to remain as focussed as possible. Having your mobile phone pinging every five minutes is a huge distraction, and is totally counter-productive.
The easy way to combat this distraction is to put your phone in silent mode, with vibration also switched off.
If your remote work doesn’t require your phone to be at hand, consider leaving it in on charge (on silent) in another room, and then go and check it at your designated break time.
The same here goes for other notifications that you might have set up on your work computer, close down any distracting apps, and set the ones you might need, like Skype to “Do Not Disturb”.
6. Your Friends and Family
An impromptu visit from your friends or family will distract you from your work. To prevent this type of distraction from occurring, ask people you know not to visit you when you are working remotely from home.
Explain to them that although you are home, you are working, and your work demands your undivided attention. Let them know that they are free to stop by when your work is done.
The key here is to make a clear distinction between your professional life, and your private life.
Don’t allow friends and family to interfere, make it clear to them that you are busy at work, and can speak to them later when you are on break or have finished for the day.
This can be especially difficult if they live with you, and are at home during your working hours, but you have to set constructive boundaries with them.
7. Having non-work related browser tabs open
Some people are capable of working productively with a whole host of random tabs and windows open. If you are not one of those people, consider using a separate browser for your remote work.
As we all know, it is too easy to fall “down the rabbit hole” once you start clicking through social media pages, or your favourite sports news sites, for example.
Keep yourself focussed, and productive by saving all of that for after work, or make a habit of only checking your favourite sites during designated break time.
As mentioned above, ideally, you should be moving away from your workstation during break time to give your mind a rest, and keep procrastination at bay.
When we are hungry, it can be almost impossible to focus on anything else. This is a distraction that no remote worker needs. That being said, this is a totally (and easily) preventable distraction.
Before you sit down to work, make yourself a nutritious meal, and don’t forget to eat at regular intervals throughout the day.
You should also avoid cooking while you are working to reduce the amount of distractions you face while working remotely.
It might seem like you are saving time by sticking something in the oven to cook for a few hours, but you can bet your bottom dollar that you will be regularly getting up, away from your work to go and check on how the food is cooking.
Eliminate this type of distraction by cooking before you start work, or after your work is completed.
Remote work also means participating in a lot of remote meetings and conference calls. To make sure you can benefit from the call and have a productive outcome, it’s important for the call to be held in complete silence.
You can use a noise cancelling app like Krisp to remove all the background noise from both sides of the call, and have a meeting from anywhere at any time. The app is available both for Mac and Windows. Give it a try and let us know how it goes. 🙂
Background noise can have a drastic impact on productivity and concentration, whether you are working remotely from home, out and about, or doing traditional office work.
When working remotely, what is it that distracts you from your work the most? What are your have suggestions for overcoming distractions, and staying focussed? Let us know in the comments below…