The office space may have changed but the distractions remain the same, some even arguing that it’s harder than ever to stay focused especially when you’re trying to work in what used to be your place of rest.
Aside from internal distractions, there are times that we need to meet a deadline and need to focus on the task at hand but some things go beyond our control. In an ideal world, we’ll be able to finish our report in a jiffy, uninterrupted by external forces. Unfortunately, this doesn’t come very often or never because even though you’re working on your own business at home, you’d still have to deal with other people. No man is an island.
Back in the traditional office setup, our officemates and superiors were often the major interrupters. The same goes with a remote set-up, only with an additional crew of characters if you’re living with parents, your partner, your pets, or children. In the office, it was clear that people were there to work. But at home, the boundaries are blurred. Do you have to do chores first because your mom is nagging you to do so or do you have to finish your assignment first because your boss is waiting for it?
Here are some ways to let people know not to disturb you while you’re trying to maintain a career at home.
The best way to avoid people wanting to chat with you is to tell them directly. Set your online status to “Do Not Disturb” or better yet, turn off your Active status in Slack, G-Mail, or whatnot.
In your group chat, inform everybody beforehand that you are busy and to not disturb you. If this makes you uncomfortable, inject a bit of humor with your “Do Not Disturb” announcement. If it’s your boss bugging you with another task, inform him or her as well to give you, for example, at least two hours to finish your prior task.
Being transparent with what you’re doing will save you time, avoid misunderstandings, and eliminate doubts in the virtual workspace.
2. Lock the door and put on noise-canceling earphones.
Let people know at home that you have a task to finish at work. Sometimes it doesn’t have to be through words, it could be through clear actions. Wear earphones indicating that you are not available to talk. Lock the door of your room. Put a “Do Not Disturb” sign at your door.
One way to avoid people interrupting you at home goes back to the first tip. Make one another aware of everyone’s schedules. Have a corkboard or magnetic dry erase board at home in full display of the whole household. Flexispot has spacious boards that are both 36 x 24 inches in size. Both could easily be mounted on the wall for everyone to see.
3. Turn off notifications.
It’s incredibly tempting to leave your urgent task when you see a sudden notification pop up. Avoid this by turning off all notifications from distracting apps such as Instagram or Facebook Messenger. You may also set your phone in Airdrop or Do Not Disturb mode. If you’re worried that you’ll be missing important or emergency calls, set your phone in a way that it will ring only when particular people contact you.
4. Keep a daily log of interruptions.
Help yourself to be more self-aware by writing down all your interruptions for the day. Write who or what interrupted you, the reason for interrupting, and then categorize if it was urgent or not and if it really needed your input or not. Jotting it down will give your mind more clarity. Looking over it at the end of the day or the week will allow you to assess your actions and devise solutions to avoid bad habits.
5. Keep your desk tidy.
Another cause of distraction is when your working environment is filled with clutter. It’s terribly distracting when you see before your eyes that you still have a lot to do. Allot a few minutes to tidy it up and you’ll save more time in the long-term. Install storage solutions to make a tidy desk more sustainable for you. Flexispot has an Under Desk Drawer and a mesh desk organizer for desk essentials, standing desks with pull-out drawers such as the Comhar All-in-One Standing Desk, and mobile file cabinets for bigger items that have to be secured.
6. Learn how to say NO.
If your friend suddenly wants to call you for a midday chat or your roommate invites you to go to the park, know your priorities and say no. A no is probably a delayed yes so once your task is done, go back to them and entertain what they need from you. Again, communication is key.
7. Assign time for check-ins, social media breaks, food breaks, etc.
According to a study by the University of California, Irvine, it takes 23 minutes for people to return to their task after they get distracted so it’s very important to be mindful of your time. Stick to your time blocks. If you say just 10 minutes of Facebook, then just use 10 minutes. If you are unable to do so, don’t go on Facebook at all.
8. Work efficiently or in advance.
A pro tip is to work efficiently or ahead of everybody so when people are not working, you can actually join them because you have the free time. Remote work usually has flexible hours so when you finish your work at a time that people aren’t on their home computers yet; chances are you’ll finish early and would have lots of time free once they’re clocked in.
Standing desks have been proven to improve workflow and efficiency at your home office. It allows you to improve your posture and stay alert from head to toe while working. Flexispot has a wide catalog of height adjustable standing desks.
A bestseller is the Seiffen Laminated Standing Desk that has a weight capacity ranging from 154 pounds to 275 pounds. Its height range is from 22.8” to 48.4” The desktop size is also spacious, starting from 42” x 24” in size.