Working from home is the new normal for many companies. However, home can have a lot of distractions. Here are 10 ways to manage them.

1. Get Dressed and Ready for the Day

It’s easy to stay in your pajamas all day when you work from home, but this can kill your productivity. Being in your comfiest clothes can distract you from work tasks by sending signals to your brain that it’s time to rest and relax. Instead, change into casual work clothing, just as though you were going into the office for the day.

2. Create a Dedicated Home Office Space

One of the biggest mistakes made by people who work from home is failing to set up a dedicated office space. Don’t try to work from your laptop in the living room with the television in the background; instead, dedicate the corner of a quiet room (or more space if you have it) for a desk, computer, and other work essentials.

3. Create a Schedule for Yourself (and Stick to It!)

When you’re on your own time, it’s important to have a schedule for yourself. You may not want to adhere to specific work times when it’s so easy to simply rearrange your day, but the only thing this does is create more work for another day. Create reasonable schedules and do your best to stick to them.  

4. Put Your Mobile Devices Away

With no one looking over your shoulder to make sure you’re not spending too much time scrolling on social media, you’ll have to do it on your own. Put your mobile devices away in a different room than your office when you’re working and consider using browser plugins to block social media on your work devices.

5. Work on Priorities First

At the start of the day, list your tasks in order of priority and difficulty. Then, work on the most difficult and/or the most important tasks first. If you run out of steam or something comes up later in the workday that keeps you from completing the rest of your tasks, you’ll know that the least important to-do items will be the ones that are moved instead of the hardest or most important.

6. Batch Similar Tasks Together

You can work faster and more efficiently if you “batch” similar tasks together and work on them in the same time block. When you switch between tasks that are very different, it takes longer for your brain to process the information and get into the groove of the new task. Group tasks that have the same topic or process together and watch your productivity improve.

7. Take Breaks to Avoid Burnout

You may be tempted to power through a large batch of work in an effort to just get it done, but this can quickly lead to burnout. Make sure you’re taking regular breaks away from your workstation, even if it’s just for five minutes.

8. Let Others in Your Home Know When You’ll Be Unavailable

If you have a spouse, children, or other family members living in your home, you may want to let them know when you will and won’t be available. Being interrupted multiple times during your workday can quickly derail your progress.

9. Take Care of Distractions Beforehand If You Can

If you know you’ll likely be distracted by something, take care of it before you sit down to work. For example, if you know you’ll be distracted by a cluttered house, make picking up part of your morning routine.

10. Use Noise-Canceling Headphones or Play Background Music

Unexpected or disrupting noises can startle you and make it challenging to complete your work. If your home tends to be loud, wear noise-canceling headphones while you work or play white noise or instrumental background music.

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