You leave your home office, walk out to the kitchen and pick up the coffee mug from breakfast on the way. You decide to wash the mug, and a few other dishes. Then you remember you’d tossed the clothes in the washer earlier, so you stop and deal with the dryer. Distractions? Distracted? Yes. We know it well, if we work out of a home office.
What’s just happened? Your mind is no longer on your work. You’ve just siphoned off some your productive time and whether you work for a company from home or you work for yourself, you realize this is not the way to manage your work days.
More than ever in my 13 years in this business, clients are experimenting with working somewhere other than their home offices and especially in shared office space. It can start out as your local coffee place for an afternoon. Or one day a week at a shared office space.
Home Office Distractions
Consider how difficult it can be to work out of the home office. Do any of these apply to you? If they do, consider a short experiment working away from home.
Families are distracting. Spouses, children or parents who don’t understand and/or don’t respect the boundaries you’re trying to put around your time and home office space. Having somewhere else to go, just like the rest of the family does with school or work, is a way to set a boundary and help them understand that you’re working, too.
Dogs: You’re mildly aware that your dog’s playtime schedule is causing some procrastination on your part. When you have that project you know you need to start and you think you’re avoiding it, getting out is helpful. Your dog’s breaks don’t need to run your day anymore than those incoming emails do.
Too quiet: You may find the house is too quiet to keep focused on work. You’re fairly outgoing. Get out and put some people energy around yourself. You may find this sort of white noise is a magic for helping you to stay focused.
Breaking technology: A printer not working or your internet going down can send you in a tailspin, knocking you off track for too long. Leave it behind. Take a project and go work somewhere else. Return late in the day feeling more productive. And p.s., in a shared office space, these services are often included!
Household chores: Leave your home office space to get a drink of water and you see all the things you think need to be done today. People who commute do these at night or on the weekends. This is the downside of home office flexibility, that you or your family think this can all be done, during your workday. If you leave the house entirely to work at the coffee house or shared work space, you’ll notice the productivity difference immediately.
The home phone rings too often and it’s rarely anyone who knows your name. Yet it breaks your concentration and it’s difficult to get your head back in the work game. You can’t leave it alone because it might be a family emergency. Set up a different solution for family phone calls, and take time away from the office.
Pay attention to your environment.
It affects your productivity because it affects your mind. Just because you work out of the house doesn’t mean you need to work there every day. Leaving for awhile is a simple way to leave the distractions behind instead of you fighting to avoid them. Try an experiment for a few hours or a day. go ahead: which day in the next few workdays would work for you? What kind of project work can you bring? Laptop, tablet or work on paper? Get it all prepped for leaving and try it.
Productivity Coach & ADHD Specialist
603.554.1948 or Sue@CoachSueWest.com
Latest topics: wrangling with your email, being bolder and procrastination.