21 Jul Avoid distractions while working remotely
When the world went into lockdown, a majority of the world’s workforce found themselves stuck working at home. This wild transition was initially met with glee and much excitement. Everyone started building the home office of their dreams, some bought art, and others even started making art given the X amount of hours they gained back. It was a joyous time that promised to only offer upsides!
The more the pandemic dragged on, the initial luster of remote work wore off and revealed the difficult — if not ugly — realities of working from home: too much freedom in a restricted space is not exactly a grand time. That and having most of the upsides of working outside of one’s residence being completely stripped from one’s routine can feel like a loss. Some might substitute them with similar activities, say, taking long walks after one’s shift or FaceTiming friends and family, but it really isn’t an easy trade.
With everything else outside of work within close proximity, people are more likely to procrastinate and become distracted. As a result, their productivity and sense of success dips and leaves them feeling bad. They end up overcompensating on some days — most likely their weekends or weeknights — and this leaves them tired and burned out. Slowly, the seeds of discontent ferments until it blooms.
So how do you avoid distractions while working from home?
Work illustrations by Storyset
Techniques to avoid distractions while working remotely
Oxford defines a distraction as a thing that prevents someone from giving full attention to something else. Very simple, but also conveys more than it actually shows. With over a decade of remote work experience I admit I still struggle with distractions. Most of the steps listed here are those that I found helpful, and I hope they help you too!
- Build a proper workstation. As a tech enthusiast who basically uses work as an excuse to shop for new computers and accessories, this is my personal favorite part about remote work! Having an efficient computer, an IP phone (or a cloud phone equivalent like Nautilus), and other peripherals that allow one to be effective at work are a must.
- Have a private home office space. This can be as simple as having a privacy barrier if you have a simple studio apartment like me. But if you have a spare room in your house, you can put that space to good use. Never underestimate waking up and knowing that you have a spot in your house where you can be productive.
- Create a schedule and stick to it. It can be so easy to lose track of time given that you only operate in one space. Mornings easily blend into night without your knowing. Using scheduling software like Asana, for example, is a modern way to help you to segment your day and lets you achieve goals that are both personal and work-related! Speaking of goals..
- Set achievable daily goals. The easiest way to find yourself in a rut is when your days start becoming repetitive, boring, and unproductive! A simple remedy is to create daily goals that you can achieve to propel your morale forwards in little ways. It can be something as easy as exercising in the morning, reading a book, or going for 5 mile walk. These little victories stack up to give your day an overall feeling of accomplishment!
- Make yourself unavailable. In an ever-connected world, it’s easy to lose control of your day to distractions. Putting your phone on Do Not Disturb allows you to focus on important tasks without the constant buzzing of the world.
- Dress up! In case you haven’t heard: you don’t have to live in your sweatpants. Though one benefit of working from home that I’ve found is the reduced load of laundry I have to wash every other week, I think there’s still something to be said about dressing up for the job you want. Some days I feel like putting on a button-up shirt while I tap away at my seven year old Macbook Air. Sometimes I’ll even go to a coffee shop all dressed up! It gives you a certain purpose, and fresh clothes really have the power to energize!
- Get out. One thing we forget about remote work is that we can do it anywhere. At the onset of the pandemic we were more restricted about going outside, but vaccines are here and most of the restrictions are gone. I myself work outside of home three times a week, reveling in and feeding off of the company of strangers and the shared energy of a busy coffee shop.
- Maintain clear and consistent communication with your team. Some companies simulate the office experience by being easily and constantly connected through cloud communication. Companies like Zoom, Skype, and our very own Nautilus make it easy for team members to set up conference calls. Knowing that your team is always within reach encourages productivity, accountability, while also building rapport!
Focus and organization
It all really boils down to these two. Admittedly, they’re also two of the hardest things to do in a world that’s designed to distract! There’s comfort in the fact, however, that they can always be learned.
Another thing that helps keep one in line and set towards success at remote work is maintaining the sense of family with your workmates. Staying connected through conference calls, for example, offers benefits that go beyond just being present. Knowing that you can easily reach out to other remote workers in your team can help you overcome and exceed your tasks and goals for the day!
With practice, determination, and a whole lot of coffee, you’ll hopefully find yourself on the winning end in your fight against distractions.