Distractions happen. They are almost totally unavoidable. I know that goes against what everyone talks about i.e. how to avoid distractions. The fact that they are around should be of no surprise. What matters most is how we deal with the every day, common deterrents in our lives.
So let’s use this scenario as an example. You might recognize it. You have very little time to handle anything related to your business today therefore time can not be wasted. You want to make the most of your time. You already know what tasks you must complete and which ones are important. So, it seems that everything is in order except your mind is racing and your business related activities seem to be very overwhelming at the moment.
I don’t know about you, but this happens to me quite often. That’s because the laundry is sceaming WASH ME and I need to exercise. Our minds can be the biggest distractions as it brings up our to-do-list when we need to focus on other tasks.
I am like most work at home moms that also homeschool, there is very little time to work on our businesses. Yet, we can still manage. I usually like to work on my blog posts while my children are sleeping during nap time, all the while debating if I should take one too. I manage to accomplish a lot during that 60-90 minute window. I have found that it takes some planning and finding opportunities to work while the children are awake. I also, look for opportunities when the children are settled when they are awake. The two older ones might be coloring or working on other projections while the little one is playing with toys and listening to nursery rhymes.
I don’t have a magic solution, but here is what I do to help work through some of the common distractions as a work at home mom. I hope this can you.
Plan to Plan
I have adopted the idea of a marketing calendar. I know what I need to do each day and I have a deadline. Sometimes I do not meet my own deadlines, but at least I know what I have to do. Having clear direction keeps my mind from wondering what to do with my time. It also keeps me from getting online and going right to social media for fun time. Although, I do my marketing on 3 social media accounts I am going there with an intentional focus to make a post or to answer a direct message. Nothing else. I plan in the morning and at night. This includes everything that I want cleaned, washed, and eaten.
I also have a morning routine. It is a system of duties I perform before I do the larger tasks of the day. For example, I wake up get the children ready and willing to eat breakfast, wash the dishes (because someone always ends up eating a snack before bed), clean up the table, make breakfast, make coffee, wash a load of clothes, then I am done. I can’t tell you any in depth reason why this works. All I know is that it keeps me focused and it keeps the house running smoothly. There have been times when I didn’t do my routine. Everything was off kilter including time for working on my business.
Find a Less Distracting Place
This might seem obvious, but it is not always easy. My house is very small (at the time of this writing). I don’t have a separate office at the moment. Our family grew fast over the years. We have certainly outgrown our home. I have to create an office wherever space and time will allow. My children can be very aggressive when it comes to getting mommy’s attention therefore I know working around them will be very distracting. If I can sneak away to blog while they are awake and if my husband is home I will write for an hour. Otherwise, I might have to schedule office time at my mom’s house. There are no busy children at her home. It’s just her and Pocket (her dog). Do whatever is necessary to stay away from anyone and anything that may distract you at your home.
Multitasking is a distraction for me because I am so used to doing it. This is one of those skills that my employers demanded of me when I was in the corporate world. It has carried over to my every day life because my life is demanding me to do everything at once. For example, I don’t have a dishwasher so I have to wash dishes by hand. While I am running the water in the sink I am sweeping the kitchen floor and the dinning room. It takes a while for the water to fill up in the sink so if I finish sweeping before that happens I head over to the table to wipe it off. Then I am back over to the dishes, but before I start I have to tend to the baby who is crying for a bottle. Then back to the dishes.
This level of doing multiple things has carried over to my work before. I am almost ashamed to admit it. I could be sitting through an important webinar while trying to sneak in a few corrections to a post that needs to be out by Thursday morning, for example. Or, I could be reading one of the 3 eBooks I downloaded two days ago while trying to listen to the webinar.
Multitasking in my business does not work. And doesn’t work for most people. I have to intentionally block out everything else in order to focus my entire attention on deadlines or writing in order to be efficient with my work. Otherwise, I end up having re-write several sentences or miss important information while learning at these virtual events.
Invest in Noise Cancelling Headphones
Lately, I have been experiencing noises that I haven’t experienced since moving into my home 3 years ago. We have added another child, therefore there is more crying and fussing happening as my last baby is becoming mobile. She is in the walking stages and bothering everything. When I have an opportunity to sneak away while daddy is watching them, I often hear the children running, laughing, playing, and crying. Also, new neighbors have moved in next door. Although we are in a single family home it sure seems like we are living in an apartment unit. They love to keep the radio loud and the windows open. If I have my windows open I can hear all of the activity happening inside of their house.
Investing in noise limiting headphones have been my savior. I can listen to nature sounds while I am working to help me relax and focus. All of the noise around me can be very distracting.
The only way for me to avoid being distracted is to work through them. I acknowledge that I need to get back on task. I don’t fight with it because it will only make me frustrated. I deal with them.
To recap, I work through distractions by:
- Planning to Plan
- Finding Less Distracting Places to Work
- Avoid Multitasking
- Use Noise Canceling Headphones
What ways are you dealing with distractions while you work from home home? Let’s help one another