Ten Tips To Reduce Distractions For Business Owners

When I’m working on my business I often find that no matter how hard I work, there’s always something lurking just around the corner vying for my attention. No matter what plans we have we can all do with tips to reduce distractions.

One moment I’ll be sewing away, an hour later I will have had several calls from clients, deliveries from suppliers, Facebook enquiries and a message from Paul seeing how my morning is going. All of these are important, but they can scupper my plans for the day somewhat.

When you run your own business from home, you have to be prepared to cover every aspect of your business. But there’s always something trying to distract you from completing the task you are working on. This can prove detrimental to any home based business.

Here’s some tips that may help to reduce distractions. I try and use these as much as possible.

The work must get done if you want to keep your business going strong. But just how do you fight those unexpected distractions?

1. Stay off the internet.

Try to only check your emails a couple of times a day. If that’s not possible, try to limit to twice in the morning and twice after lunch. Allow yourself to log onto social media if you have to, but limit this to the time it takes you to eat your lunch. Otherwise, stay off, as this  can be a huge time sucker if you don’t learn to control your time there. If you must be on the internet, shut down all pages except the one you are working on at that time.

2. Shut the door to your office.

If you have a family at home during work hours, consider shutting yourself off and putting a “do not disturb” sign on the door all the time you’re working. If you don’t have a separate room, explain to your family that the small corner of the dining room is your office and must be treated as such.

When you’re at your computer, sewing machine or whatever tools you use for your business,  you are working and small family issues are not the priority. This leads neatly into point 3…

Work Distractions - The Home Office Cabin

3. Emergency only interruptions.

Explain to your children not to bother you unless it is an emergency – in other words, blood or broken glass. If they are still young, it may be necessary to hire a babysitter to come in for a few hours a day, so you can have some uninterrupted business time. A neighbour’s teenage daughter or son may be perfect for this job. They won’t charge you a fortune and your kids will love having an older teen to hang out with for a few hours.

You may not want to go to this expense, but if it gives you an extra hour or two to work hard to earn more than the childcare costs, then it is a benefit worth paying for.

4. Find a quiet place.

Sometimes it is necessary to escape the home office. You may have work being carried out at your home, the children may have inset days, or the other half is off sick and playing up to you! Leave the house and go to a local coffee shop (one with wifi helps) or the library. The library is often quieter, but some coffee shops have quiet corners where you will often find people working away. Just don’t eat too many sugary snacks!

I struggle with this tip, as I am yet to find somewhere that will let me bring my sewing machine, but I have done this to send emails, update social profiles and answer emails.

5. Figure out what task you’re most avoiding.

I often use the phrase “Eat that frog”. This relates to the task that you have been avoiding, the one that may be difficult to complete. Make it a priority first thing in the morning – no procrastination, no excuses, just start it and get it done. If needs be, you can polish it later on, but it just needs tackling and completing, to give you the feeling of being able to do anything. Often avoidance of this one task can keep you from being productive all day.

 

 

6. Good enough is good enough

Another one of my sayings that sometimes I have to remind myself. It’s all very well being a perfectionist, but sometimes you can spend hours trying to make a job perfect, when in fact there is very little improvement to the end product. Don’t expect perfection every time. Start right now, complete it and maybe later you will find the answer to improving it comes to you later, wen you are not obsessing about it.

7.  The most important meal of the day.

Make sure you eat a good, filling breakfast with plenty of protein and fibre, if possible. Skip breakfast or just grab something small and in 30 minutes you will be hungry and start looking for a snack. If your sugar level drops low, you’ll have a hard time concentrating, and thus be unproductive. Eating a healthy diet will improve your work day.

8. Keep plenty of water nearby.

Drink plenty of water, sipping throughout the day. Staying hydrated helps your physical body and your mental concentration. Avoid sugary drinks that send you soaring and then make you crash an hour later – no names, but I’m sure you can all think of some. Rather than the highs and lows they bring, stay focussed by sipping water regularly.

9. Take regular breaks.

Do your best to take short breaks every hour. Walk around your office, go to the bathroom, or look out the window. It’s not possible to concentrate for vast lengths of time without your work suffering, so take a quick break. A few shoulder exercises and other stretches may assist. Then come back revitalised and ready to work.

10. Background noise.

Most people will find that it helps to have some sort of white noise or music playing in the background. This way they won’t be as disturbed by outside noise such as the dog barking, the garbage man crashing cans, or the children watching television in the other room. Personally I always have the radio on in the background, and have on the “odd occasion” found myself singing whilst sewing. Not a good sound!

There’s no doubt that life these days is full of distractions. But if you’re going to work from home you have to find ways that help you stay focused. There’s no one else there to make you do the work, it’s all down to you. We all have days where we can’t utilise all of these tips, but start applying them one by one and you will soon find that you are more productive. And if you are more productive, then your company will thrive, which is why you are running your own business in the first place.

Nicky

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