If you have trouble concentrating at your telecommuting job, you’re not alone. Distractions are everywhere in the at-home workplace, though they have some different incarnations from those you’d see in the office. You might be tempted to turn on the TV for 15 minutes, which turns into an hour or more. A long lunch is ever so tempting when there’s no one telling you “no.” Then, of course, there’s the Internet, the bottomless pit of useless information that’s a lure for any employee who works at a computer (read: everyone!)

When you really need to focus, but you’re having trouble reigning in your wandering mind, you don’t have to give into it. There are do-it-yourself mental tricks you can apply to make yourself the most productive and efficient you can be in that moment. Ready to take back control? Read on.


Set Priorities

Looking at an ever-growing to-do list can leave you lost as to where to get started. Instead of landing your finger on a random task, determine which task(s) will make the most impact right away, and do those first. Setting priorities will pinpoint the important reasons why you’re doing the work, which will help you stay motivated.


Establish a Routine

Doing the same thing (or similar) at the same time everyday will get your brain in a rhythm that becomes hard to break. You’ll actually develop the habit of staying on track because it’s built into your day. Slight variations can keep you from getting board, but try to make your workday a series of rituals that get the job done.


Track Your Time

If you feel yourself hesitating on starting a task, tell yourself, “I will work on this for X number of minutes.” Setting an end time to your task will keep you from being preoccupied with the amount of time you’ll have to spend on it. You might even find that you work beyond that time if you really get on a roll – in which case you can work to your heart’s content.


Set Your Own Deadlines

Deadlines assist with making sure that a project comes to completion. Otherwise, you could plan to “work on it another day” indefinitely. Make your deadlines reasonable to ensure their timely accomplishment, and don’t drag on any one project for too long.


Avoid Multitasking

Although “the ability to multitask” is written into nearly every job description, multitasking is actual pretty impossible. The brain can only do one task at a time, and switching between tasks too quickly wears on your brain and increases fatigue. The brain can only successfully switch between tasks every 20 minutes, so plan to spend at least that amount of time doing any one thing – preferably longer so you have time to get in the “zone.”


Take Breaks

You’re working hard, when suddenly feel yourself crashing. That’s your brain signaling you that it’s time for a break. If you keep plowing through, your work will take a hit and your focus will eventually fall down to the level of “useless.” Though they take time out of working, regular breaks give you insurance to get more done in less time and keep your mind sharp and focused.


Check Messages at Set Times

The satisfying little “ding” that your e-mail or text message alert makes is enough to pull you away from the work you’re doing and check it. Unfortunately, what you think is going to be just a minute or two can turn into a lot of lots work time. Turn off your notifications and make a point to check your messages at certain times during the day (for example, once in the morning, afternoon, and before finishing the day). This will save you from “living out of your inbox” and constantly being distracted by non-urgent matters.


Identify Your Distractions

We all have our own personal inner demons when it comes to distractions. Perhaps you’re addicted to Facebook or Reddit, or maybe you have a habit of “productive procrastination” and continue to put off priorities for less important tasks. Knowing what makes you “tick” will empower you to nip it in the bud.


Do Smaller Tasks

One big project is daunting, but many smaller tasks seem more feasible. Psychology says that our brains get extra tired when trying to process large amounts of information. Spare yourself the brain drain and break up what you have to do into manageable chunks. It will be easier to accomplish each portion, and planning out the project will keep you focused on the immediate task at hand.


Clear Your Work Area

Too much clutter in your workspace – both physical and virtual – can keep you from performing at your best. Excessive post-it reminders around your desk can get your mind on other things, while too many items on your computer desktop can seriously interrupt the flow of your work. Keeping a clear, clean workspace will make sure no object – whether family photos or computer files – gets in your way.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

Posted by Agnes Jozwiak

Agnes is the Brand & Communication Director at ClickMeeting.

Time to move your events online. Do it with ClickMeeting


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *