WORKPLACE / DEC. 07, 2014
version 3, draft 3

How to Combat Disruptions When Working Remotely

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When you work at home or while traveling, there are bound to be things that could distract you and stop you from focusing on the work at hand. The fact that you are in a non-work environment means that it’s much easier to be distracted, which could reduce the quality of your work drastically.

If you want to be successful working remotely, here are some ways to fight disruptions:

  • Block out outside noise -- Get yourself a good pair of noise canceling headphones, and listen to music as you work. The headphones will block out the sounds around that could distract you, and the music will help to keep your mind focused on the task at hand.
  • Work in a quiet place -- Working at a café or local Starbucks just isn’t going to cut it if you want to get a lot done. People are constantly coming in and out, sitting down, and moving all around you, so it’s nearly impossible to focus on your work. To avoid constantly looking up, find a place that is quiet and has as little traffic as possible.
  • Have your own space -- If you work from home, set up a room in your house that is EXCLUSIVELY dedicated to your office. As you get accustomed to working in that room, you will develop the neural connections that will get your mind into "work mode" every time you sit down at your desk.
  • Prepare the day before -- When you know what needs to be accomplished during the day, it’s easier to avoid disruptions and distractions. When you’re not certain what needs to be done, it’s much harder to stay focused as you try to figure out the things you need to do. Prepare a list of work the day before, and you’ll find it’s a whole lot easier to get things done.
  • Use two internet browsers -- Want to ensure you’re focused on your work? Have two web browsers open--one for work, and one for entertainment. When you’re working, ONLY use the work browser. When you need a break, flip to the other browser.
  • Sign out -- If you can sign out of your email and social media accounts, it will be much harder for you to be distracted by incoming emails and messages. Either sign out or just close the window.
  • Leave your phone outside -- Your cellphone is going to be a source of great distraction, as you may receive texts and pings throughout the day. If you can’t turn off the phone, leave it outside the office while you’re working on the very important tasks.
  • Set work hours -- The reason office hours are productive is because they have a start and finish, so people know how much more time they have to work before they can enjoy themselves. Set your own office hours, and make the time that you have dedicated to work as productive as possible.
  • Take a break -- If you know that you have a break at a certain time of day, it’s easier to keep yourself working until that time. Set breaks throughout your day, and use that time to socialize, make personal calls, watch TV, read a book, and anything else that will help you relax. Keep your break times limited, but enjoy some time off to help you focus on your work at hand.

It’s easy to be productive while working remotely, but you have to train yourself to work hard and avoid distractions. Thanks to the tips above, you have a real chance of being a telecommuting professional!

 

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