Five Telecommuter Distractions (And How to Avoid Them)

By May of 2011, the United States reported that 14% of the overall population was telecommuting in some form or fashion, as well as posted growth year of year with these kinds of positions. It’s obvious that more companies are not only looking for the “freelancer” but the importance to having a productive environment at home is on the rise.

If you’re about to start telecommuting in some form or fashion, here are five things that can destroy the telecommuters productivity – and some tips on how to avoid these pitfalls.

Have a Place to Work.

Before a couple of weeks ago, wanting to work at home meant I was going to be sitting at the kitchen table with the most uncomfortable chair in all of existence. It didn’t exactly foster a creative environment. Once I had my office all set up I was amazed at how much more comfortable I felt having a real place to work in the walls of my home. When working at home, have an area that has comfortable seating and a space that is just for you. It will really help you stay focused.

Other People in the House.

This is one of the greatest distractions to the telecommuter. No matter if it’s your kids, your spouse, or your mother stopping by for coffee in the AM, having other people in your house is a natural deterrent to getting things done. I have a deal with my husband that if the office door is closed, it means I’m working and don’t want to be disturbed, but if it’s open I’m not tied up and it can be chat time.

Amazon, EBay, Tumblr, and Facebook.

Working from home more than likely means you’re working from your computer. The amount of distractions on the Internet can be killer when it comes to productive telecommuting. Since telling you to just avoid the sites all together is pretty much pointless, I’ll instead suggest that you take a mental break every few hours. Set a timer for the ten or fifteen minutes you’re going to give yourself to scroll your Facebook News feed and, most importantly, stick to it. Too many times a short mental break becomes an hour of lost productivity.

The Other Things You Could Be Doing.

As the “clean-freak” in my house I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked myself out of being productive in the office for doing some dishes, mopping the floors, or getting that extra load of laundry done. Close the door to your office and ignore it – to the best of your abilities (this is harder for some than others) so that you can stay focused on the work at hand. Since you’re going to be giving yourself proper breaks, you can always throw the dishes in the dishwasher then.

The Need For Social Interaction.

Working at home can sometimes cut you off from the rest of the world. So much of your communication is done through email that you might find yourself venturing out more often than you like to incorporate yourself into society. A quick trip down to Starbucks can turn into a couple of hours out in public. Instead of doing everything by email, pepper in a few conference calls or video conferences with co-workers and clients, so that you can hear the sound of someone’s voice that isn’t your internal monologue.

How do you stay focused while working at home?