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7 Ways to Stay Focused Working at Home

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work at home focus

dorit@homeofficecareers.com'

Dorit Sasson blogs about branding and content marketing for authors and small business over at Giving Voice to Your Story.

The top challenge I had to face after my daughter was born was being able to consistently stay focused working from home. It took great discipline to sit alone behind a computer knowing that any minute my daughter would cry. Fueled by anxiety, I’d get terribly distracted and feel so unproductive, I’d go to the fridge and check my Facebook status. Surely there had to be a better way.

 

Let’s face it. Working at home isn’t exactly convenient when there are so many distractions and time at a premium.

 

Since I was so intent on building my career as a freelance writer, I had to find a solution where I could stay focused. If this sounds like your particular situation, consider implementing the following strategies to help you regain control of time so you can refocus.

  • Avoid coffee shops as much as you can. They are a constant source of distraction with the ongoing chitter-chatter plus you can end up spending quite a bit of money per week on coffee and drinks. If you’re losing time and focus, why should you be spending money?
  • Take advantage of your local library. The quiet (and free!) environment will stimulate your productivity which in turn, can boost your self-esteem. When my youngest started daycare, I still went to the library to maintain productivity that I couldn’t get from staying at home.
  • Join a shared workspace. There’s evidence to the idea that when you invest in your business, you become more productive. I checked out such places online and even though I had to shlep to these places, knowing I invested time and money made me more productive and focused.
  • Track your hours to see when you are the most productive and when you start slacking off. One way to do this is by implementing an hour by hour timeblocking chart to see what you might be doing even while working at a library or at a shared space. After an hour, evaluate your work. This system will inform you of wasted time versus focused time. Try experimenting with this system for a week and notice a few patterns. Use your high energy time to focus on heavy duty assignments and “low time” to answer emails and the like.
  • Stop blaming your children. You didn’t expect this to be a tip, did you? During my maternity leave, I often said I wanted to work from home, but fell into the trap of using my children as an excuse not to work from home. It’s not right to blame my children for my own lack of ambition, (kids need to be kids – that’s their job) so in turn, I learned to celebrate them while I went on with my business.
  • Seek out inexpensive babysitting services. I paid $20 a month for shortstop babysitting service at our local Jewish Community Center, which gave me an additional two hours to work out at the gym from Monday to Thursday. Although I was required to stay at the facility, I could also work on my laptop and “buy” work time if need be. One does not need to be Jewish to partake in these services, and your local JCC might offer these services as well. There are several organizations across the nation that offer a similar service. The YMCA offers free child watch as part of their member benefit.

 

  • Trade services with another parent. I was lucky to find a few parents who had children my daughter’s age and didn’t mind watching her during after school hours.  In exchange, I would watch their children. The tricky part was finding the right times with both of our schedules to make it work.

 

So there you have it — seven ways to regain time and stay productive and focused. It takes a lot of discipline to put yourself and your work first. It is however, possible to find a balance between work and family as you work outside the home.

13 Responses to “7 Ways to Stay Focused Working at Home”

  1. elna@innovativeink.ca' Elna Cain says:

    Dorit,

    I’m also a freelance writer with twin toddlers and it took me a while to find my “groove.” Currently, I can only do my client work when my children are either sleeping or with the in-laws.

    My work day doesn’t typically start until 1 pm, but I manage to have time for my children and keep my clients happy.

    I agree with finding babysitting services. I’m fortunate enough to have family close by and I can rely on them on a daily basis provide respite.

    Great tips!
    Elna

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