Following my previous post about what it is like to work from home, I thought it would be fun to discuss the types of distraction you may find there and ways of avoiding them.
I have worked part time from my living room and learned some lessons for myself. To add to this, many of my friends have stopped commuting to London and instead done all of their business from home for the last year and a half. They have shared the things that regularly annoy them while working at home.
Here are some distractions that we have discovered whilst trying to conduct zoom meetings and carry out our daily work.
1) The TV.
For me the television is very tempting. When I have a spare moment I feel the instinct to pop it on for a few minutes. Then, if I am not careful, I simply mute it while I work, finding myself constantly referring to it in between each task and delaying my progress.
Similarly, if you base yourself in the living room, others may come in at different times of the day and want to turn on their favourite telly shows.
The easy answer is not to work in the living room but to base yourself somewhere that others definitely won’t interrupt your meetings or put you off. Failing this, a good old fashioned ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign may work instead.
I suppose this one speaks for itself, and whilst I don’t currently have any animals, I often cat sit for a friend. Cats and dogs love to roam and have very few boundaries. If you close the door, they claw at it until it opens and before long they are stretching out in front of your camera, causing you to have to contort your body to get seen on screen.
Pets need training to stay downstairs (or up) during work times and have regular opportunities to go out for a run. We have all seen animals on Youtube popping their heads into Zoom meetings and disturbing TV presenters who have reported from their own houses. Getting a good routine involving pets will help your work day run more smoothly.
3) Work away from the road.
What I mean by this is make sure you base yourself nearer the back of the house or flat, perhaps near the back garden. I have found that working in a room that overlooks my street has led to all sorts of noises disturbing my work.
From deliveries to rubbish trucks, arguing neighbours to children singing, all sorts of things have disrupted me because I worked in a room that was at the front of the house.
4) Try and disconnect.
It sounds obvious but unplug the house phone during the day. Otherwise it will ring again and again during your meetings and you will find yourself frustrated by it.
Yesterday I saw two Olympians doing an interview on the TV and their house phone was constantly ringing in another part of the house so they were unable to stop it. Their faces showed their irritation and this confirms why house phones and other devices which may ring need turning off while you are working.
5) Stay away from the kitchen.
Another thing that I find massively distracting is the kitchen because when working at home I find there is a constant temptation to snack. I have learned that the best thing to do is schedule breaks like I would have if I was in the actual workplace.
That way I don’t end up sipping coffee all day and wasting time boiling the kettle. Alongside this I have to delete my fast food apps during the week as I have fallen foul to repeatedly ordering lunch by delivery.
Writers and bloggers work from home a lot and so I thought it would be useful to discuss this topic. Here is a previous post about this topic. Feel free to share your own experiences and tips in the comments below. Maybe even consider following my blog.