How to Avoid Distractions While Working from Home

2 months ago   •   6 min read

By Zero Machina

Working from home has a lot of benefits, but it can also be very easy to get distracted.

There are a lot of things that can pull you away from your work. And if you're not careful, you can easily lose focus and waste hours of your time. In this article, we'll discuss how to avoid distractions while working from home so you can stay focused on the task at hand!

The Most Common Distractions Facing The Remote Worker

There are many things that can cause someone to get distracted while working remotely.

The most common distractions include:

  • Social media
  • Household chores
  • Kids or pets
  • TV or movies
  • Phone calls, texting, or messaging
  • Unnecessary meetings

Let's cover each of these distractions in more detail.

Social Media

A huge distraction people face when working from home is social media. It's easy to get caught up scrolling through your newsfeed or checking notifications.  Advertisements are also fighting for your attention—before you know it, you've been online shopping for more than 10 minutes!

If you find yourself getting distracted by social media, try to set specific times for when you'll allow yourself to check it.  For example, you could allow yourself to check social media for five minutes every hour. Or, you could set a specific time in the evening to catch up on your notifications.

Another way to avoid getting distracted by social media is to log out of your accounts or use a separate Chrome profile while you're working. That way, you'll have clear boundaries that make distractions less likely to occur.

Household Chores

Another common distraction remote workers face is household chores.

If you're working from home, you'll likely see unfinished household tasks in plain sight. So it can be tempting to do laundry or clean dirty dishes instead of working.

One way to avoid getting distracted by household chores is to set a specific time for when you'll do them. For example, you could batch your laundry on the weekends or in the evenings.

Another way to avoid getting distracted by household chores is to outsource them. There are businesses you can hire to help out around the house, such as cleaning services. This can be a great way to free up your time so you can focus on work.

Kids or Pets

If you have kids or pets, it can be hard to stay focused while working from home.

One way to avoid getting distracted by your kids or pets is to set a specific time for when you'll be with them. For example, you could take breaks throughout the workday to play with your kids, or to take your dog on a walk.

Another way to avoid getting distracted by your kids or pets is to create a dedicated workspace. By working in a separate room, you can close the door so you won't be distracted by them. If you don't have a separate room, try to create a space in your home where you can work without being interrupted. This way, when you're in your workspace, you set up the expectation that you're busy and not be distracted.

Keep in mind that these tips are suggestions, not parenting advice.  So be sure to adjust your workplace strategy for your unique circumstances.

TV or Movies

It can be tempting to watch TV or movies during the workday, but it's important to stay focused on your work.

One way to avoid getting distracted by TV or movies is to set a specific time for when you'll watch them.  For example, you could watch TV or movies in the evening after you've finished working for the day.

Another way to avoid getting distracted by TV or movies is to avoid having them on in the background while you're working. If you find yourself getting distracted by them, try working in a room where you don't typically watch entertainment.

Phone Calls, Texting, or Messaging

Another common distraction people face when working from home is phone calls, texting, or messaging. If you find yourself getting distracted by them, try to set a specific time for when you'll allow yourself to check them.

For example, you could allow yourself to check your phone every five minutes on the hour. Or, you could set a specific time in the evening to catch up on your messages.

You could also turn off your notifications. This way, you won't be tempted to check them every time someone messages you.

Unnecessary Meetings

You’re busy. And you can't afford to waste time in a meeting that should’ve been an email. You’ll want to be available for meaningful conversations while setting clear boundaries.

If you want to be more productive, learn to say no to unnecessary meetings.

If a meeting is truly necessary, make sure it's productive by preparing an agenda and sticking to it.

By being more selective about the meetings you attend, you'll be able to focus more on your work and get things done.

Undock empowers you to set calendar preferences based on your time availability and scheduling behavior. You can customize this for your personal calendar page.

For instance, let's say you never want to exceed five meetings a day, and you only want to have these meetings from 1PM - 4PM. Undock gives you the power to customize this external availability to the world, and your synced calendars will block any existing event from your calendar page.

Read: Undock Scheduling: Never think about your availability again

5 Tips to Avoid Distractions While Working from Home

As we've discussed, it's easy to get distracted when you're working from home. Here are five tips to help you avoid distractions and stay focused on your work.

Prioritize Your To-Do List

We only have 24 hours in a day. And there will always be another item on your to-do list.

For this reason, it's important to be clear on your priorities. Be okay with not finishing every item on your to-do list and only completing your most important tasks.

Take Regular Breaks

Taking breaks at work can help us stay focused and increase productivity. They're an essential part of our workday, and they shouldn't be viewed as a luxury or a waste of time.

Take regular breaks based on your work schedule.  The average remote worker can take a five-minute break every hour or so, but find what works for you.

Use this break to stretch, go on a short walk, grab a drink, or check in with your family.

Set Clear Boundaries

Setting boundaries in your work schedule allows you to control how you spend your time. When you have clear boundaries, you can say no to distractions and focus on what's important.

In an earlier section, we discussed how you can do this for various distractions.

One example of setting a clear boundary is to create a dedicated workspace.  This sends a signal to others that you're busy, and gives you more undisturbed time to focus on impactful work.

If you have friends or family members who tend to drop by unannounced, you may want to set boundaries with them. Communicate and let them know when you need uninterrupted time.

You can also set boundaries with yourself. For instance, you can turn off your phone or social media notifications while you're working. This way, you won't be tempted to check your phone every time you get a notification.

Take Care of Your Mental and Physical Health

It's important to take care of your mental and physical health if you want to be productive at work.

When you're not feeling well, it's much easier to get distracted.  So make sure to take care of yourself if you want to stay focused while working from home.

Getting enough sleep, exercising, eating healthy food, and managing your stress levels are all essential for maintaining your health.

Audit Your Work Hours

Getting work done is important. But it's possible to achieve this without burning out.

If you find that you're working long hours and never seem to have any free time, it's time for an audit. Take a look at how you're spending your time and see if there are any areas where you can cut back.

For instance, maybe you're spending too much time checking email. Or perhaps you're taking on too many projects and need to learn how to say no.

Once you identify how you're spending time, you can make changes to your schedule and cut out any non-essential tasks.


Next Steps

There are countless distractions trying to pull you away from accomplishing impactful work. And when working from home,  it can be easy to give in to these distractions.

But by following the tips above, you can overcome these distractions and stay focused at work.

Want to learn how to better focus at work? Check out our article: What Is Deep Work? Unlock Your Mind's Fullest Potential.

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