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Distractions in the Home

By: Paul Geraghty - Updated: 20 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Distractions At Home Working At Home

When you begin a new career at home you may find that learning to discipline yourself and focus on your professional pursuits rather than the many distractions that every home offers can be a big problem. You’re your own boss now and there is no one standing over your shoulder cracking a whip. So you need to learn to do it yourself!

Distractions in the Home
The modern home offers many potential distractions. Besides the old staples of television, magazines, newspapers and kitchen, we now have the internet. Indeed, the internet can be a particular problem. Even in office jobs, several surveys have shown that employees waste an average of around two hours each day surfing the web. And this is when they are subject to supervision, so think how much worse it could get if there is no oversight at all! This, of course, is exactly the situation you face when you work from home. And while some forms of freelance work can be conducted without the help of the internet, it is a central focus for many of them, so the temptation will always be there. The lure of social networking sites can be a constant distraction. Ultimately, there is no alternative but for you to acquire the self-discipline needed to use the internet as a tool rather than a personal indulgence.

Goodbye 9 to 5?
When you begin to work from home, you’ll have to decide whether you want to follow standard office hours. In some cases, where you’re required to deal with clients or potential clients who expect you to be able to respond in a professional and timely manner to their inquiries, the question will answer itself. In others cases, your clients may not require that degree of immediacy in their dealings with you and time will be more fungible.

In essence, this means that it doesn’t really matter at what time of day you do the work, as long as you get it done. If you like, you could sleep all day and work all night. While this is an extreme example, this lack of forced adherence to a routine can be a good thing. Studies have shown that many ordinary workers are sleep deprived. They are forced to get up earlier than they would like to in order to arrive at their jobs on time and so are tired throughout the day. This affects their job performance, sometimes in dangerous ways. For example, one expert estimates that around one third of all accidents at work are caused by sleep deprivation in the workers responsible.

Working till late may be the corporate ideal in some offices but it actually leads to below par performance. So once you start working from home, if office hours don’t matter to you, you should feel uninhibited about letting your body slip into its natural rhythms of sleeping and waking. You’ll find you’re brighter, more alert and able to perform better.

Once you’ve decided that time is fungible, however, and you can work whenever you want, you’ll constantly be tempted to make slight adjustments to your work schedule. Is there a cricket match you want to watch on television? Is it more convenient to do your shopping during the day? So you lose an hour or two from your work time, promising that you’ll make it up later in the day. But do you? Learning to discipline yourself in this way is one of the hardest problems you’ll face. Some even find that forcing themselves to adhere to standard work hours is a good thing, and helps keep them on track.

How Friends and Relatives React to Your Career at Home
Once you’ve learned to discipline your own use of time at home, though, you’re still not in the clear. You’ll often find that friends and relatives can be the worst. Once they know you’re working at home, they’ll think nothing of calling you up on the telephone, hoping to have a long chat, or even popping round if they live close by. Of course, they wouldn’t dream of calling you up and chatting for an hour if you worked in an office. For some reason, though, because you’re working from home, they don’t think of it as a real job. In the end, you’ll just have to put your foot down and make it clear to them that you have some serious commitments to keep.

Developing good time management skills is essential if your new career at home is going to be a success. And part of good time management is learning to deal with the many distractions you can face in the home.

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