We’ve been thrust into the reality of working from home. Along with this comes the burden of 1,000 distractions. Here is my current situation: the dogs need fed, the baby needs fed and changed, a blog needs written, trades need to be made, clients need to be contacted, the house needs cleaned, and laundry needs done. Oh, and the baby had a blowout and one of the dogs brought home a dead animal on the porch. Sound familiar? It’s like as soon as I get started on work, something else pops up that needs my immediate attention. It’s clear that the universe doesn’t want me to get anything done. While this will never stop happening, there are a few things you can do to help you stay on track.
1. Create a Schedule
Before the beginning of the work week, sit down with your calendar. Plan out the days and times that you will get certain things done. My calendar blocks include my finance job, blogging, workouts, homework for my MBA course, and any scheduled calls or remote meetings. Make sure to distribute everything so you maintain a plan that is easy to follow and accomplish. You can schedule these blocks around meals, your kids’ naps, and anything else you know might distract you. Assigning a day and time for your responsibilities will hold you accountable for actually getting them done rather than putting them off for later (or never), which we all know is so easy to do.
2. Make Lists
At the beginning of each day, make a list of all the tasks that you need to get done. These tasks can be specific to your calendar blocks or they can be unrelated. You can add to the list as you go or start creating your lists for the following days when new things come up. Each day, I have a list of work tasks and a list of home tasks that I need to do. I get my work tasks done during the calendar blocks I set aside for work, and I do the home tasks in between everything else I have going on. Personally, I hate having things to do in the evening, so I make sure to have my list done by dinner. Did you know that physically checking items off a list releases small amounts of dopamine (a “feel-good” neurotransmitter) in your brain? This will help you maintain motivation!
3. Take Breaks
While working from home, you can’t expect to stay focused for hours on end. Schedule 15-30 minute breaks for yourself, and when your break is over, jump right back into what you were working on. Spend your break playing with your kids or animals, make a yummy snack for yourself, or relax with a cup of coffee. Some fresh air might help you recharge as well! My breaks are mostly spent cleaning up messes and handling unexpected disasters, but when we expect these distractions to happen, we can accept them, take care of them, and move on.
QUICK TIP: Follow the 3-text rule. Don’t look at your phone until you’ve received 3 notifications.
Working from home is not easy, but sticking to your daily and weekly plans will help you maintain self-discipline in a distraction-filled environment. With the distractions come extra time with family, a comfy couch, and PJ’s all day, so if you ask me, it’s totally worth it.