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How to Avoid Distractions Working at Home

Apr 3, 2008
One of the biggest challenges of running a home-based business is staying focused on the task at hand. A myriad of distractions can pull even the most dedicated business owners from their work. Thankfully you can avoid these distractions from dominating your time.

The first and foremost consideration is the location of your home office. High traffic areas where your family members are passing through or present should be avoided. Anywhere a television will be on or audible to you will likely get the best of your attention span. The same goes for stereos or your son's band practice space. This could mean above the garage isn't the best choice. Try to isolate a spot that is as far from these distractions as possible. Avoid the living room and kitchen. If you can't manage a space that is out of the way, try to manage your working hours around the times distractions will be present. Otherwise establish house rules about noise levels to the best of your ability.

There are still plenty of temptations to sidetrack you other than outside distractions. As ruler of your domain you can give yourself a little too much freedom. Being your own boss is still a job. You have to establish some self set parameters to stay efficient and productive. That means setting some business hours for yourself. This not only keeps you in line, but it is also important in balancing your business with your family. Close up shop at a set time. That doesn't mean you can't be flexible and take care of things outside the box when necessary. But lay some ground rules for your own sake.

Make sure your family and friends understand that even though you are home, you aren't 100% available. Family time and work time need to be separate for the most part. You need to have willpower enough to hang up the phone or shut the door when things have to be done. This is especially important if you have a business that requires you to be available during normal business hours. Your customers must be able to view you as professional and available during that time.

So, you've kicked everyone out of your space and you are getting down to business. Most home business activity requires you to be plugged in to the world wide web. Keep only the windows open on your computer that you need. This applies especially to your web browser. Nothing will eat up more of your workday than wasted time spent surfing the Internet. Endless distractions swallow whole hours in the blink of an eye online. Limit your browsing time to slower periods of the day, or only when you are looking for something specific.

Make sure your work space stays organized. Keep everything where you need it and file paperwork right away so that you don't waste time looking for misplaced items. Clutter can be a huge mental distraction. This is another reason why it is important to keep your home office dedicated solely to your business and without laundry baskets or children's toys around.

Let your family or house mates know from the get go that you aren't available for other activities while you're working. If you keep getting pulled away to run errands or toss in a load of laundry during work hours, your work won't ever get done. It is a benefit of working from home to take advantage of this flexibility if you can afford to. Allow for some time spent doing these other things, but make sure the time slot is specific. If you don't, 20 minutes will turn into three hours and your afternoon is shot.

All work and no play make anyone a bit dull and cranky. So don't take the scheduling too far and make yourself miserable. Allow for some enjoyable time and refreshing breaks. Take time after school to spend time with the kids. Enjoy the flexibility you can allow yourself now that you are a successful entrepreneur. Just make sure you stay focused when necessary to commit to long-term success.
About the Author
Tom McMullen writes articles about home business. You can find more of his articles at:

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