Distractions at work – A guide for those that work at home- Part 2

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In Part 1 of Distractions At Work, we looked at why people usually choose to work from home. We also covered the TYPE 1 distractions, which are family, household, social and personal. Now we will examine the TYPE 2 distractions, those which are self imposed.


TYPE 1 distractions mostly come as part of the job when you work at home. However, TYPE 2 distractions are closer to procrastinations, as you usually have a choice. They are the activities that draw us away from what we are supposed to actually be doing.


We all need to take a break from working, and some of these distractions can be a welcome source of entertainment. We seek things that distract us from our current thought process of work. The alternatives to being productive can be very attractive and easy to access, thus offering procrastination with ease.

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TYPE 2 Distractions



Internet


If your work is based around a computer, as many peoples are these days, the first distractable procrastination is the internet it's self. It brings so many different types of distractions that the possibilities are endless.


Social networking and bookmarking sites, instant messengers, email accounts, forums, games, shopping and generally surfing are all there at the click of a button. Many of these things have become an accepted part of everyday life. How would we survive without them?


They are all fairly harmless and enjoyable pass times, that's what they were invented for. However, they can become some of you're biggest distractions when you should be working. They are difficult to avoid all together, especially if you work from home and there are no restrictions imposed as they would be at most places of work.


Some of these procrastinations are social media and bookmarking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, all types of instant messengers – MSN, Yahoo, Gtalk (not forgetting skype, which is slightly different, but still as distracting). Playing games, constantly checking email accounts and taking part in forums are all equally distracting procrastinations that tempt us away from what we should be doing. Don't forget online shopping (who doesn't like a bit of ebay?) and general web surfing. All of these different things add up to potentially hours and hours of wasted time.


Many places of work have banned such activities, i.e social networking and instant messengers, as they affect productiveness. Too many work hours get wasted on these distractions and employees soon became wise to this. However, these procrastinations do take place in many work places, without restriction, but the trend is to have the option disabled on most work PC's.


No one is suggesting that you avoid them at all costs, just limit how much you access these things while you work. Keep them for breaks, but don't keep going on breaks just to procrastinate. If you are having trouble focusing, take a break from working and do something else productive. Household chores are usually waiting for you and if you do some of it when you are having a rest from the PC, then it won't become overwhelming. If you struggle to get your work done AND keep the housework under control, take a look at HubPages (Writing) And Housework - How To Get Them Both Done - Part 1.



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Personal entertainment


Sitting down for long periods of time at your PC requires that you get up and move around from time to time. Often when we get up to do this, we end up watching television, reading the newspaper, making coffee to sit down and text people from your mobile phone (cell phone) or end up taking a nap. Again, all of these are very well and good, in moderation.


Whether you're a television fan or not, watching it can become attractive to the option of doing something productive. Getting up from your seat at the computer, only to sit down again straight away to watch a t.v. program is usually counter productive. If we are taking a planned, scheduled break to watch a specific program, and then go straight back to work, it can workout very well. We all need a rest from focused concentration, for physical and psychological reasons, so a television break can fall into this category, so long as it is limited in time spent doing it.


Reading the newspaper is also an acceptable activity to do on a break from working at the PC. However, leaving what you're doing every 10 minutes to read a little more news, is not. Neither is reading it cover to cover, twice, even the bits that you're not really interested in, is another well known procrastination. Enjoy your newspaper, but at the right time.


Taking a break often signifies time to put the kettle on. After making your favourite hot beverage, you sit down again, but not at your PC? You will find something else to occupy you, maybe daydreaming or seeking out family members that are also at home at that time. These activities are essential to well being, but beware of those that come in the form of procrastination.


Your mobile (cell) phone can be a big distraction. Knowing that you are at home, many people think that you have all the time in the world, but you don't. They will call you up, maybe ask you to do them a favour, after all you've got nothing better to do right? You're going to have to learn to say no! You have to work, just like any other job, and they shouldn't take advantage of you.


Texting has become a new way of having a conversation, not just sending one quick message.s Texting back and for is all well and good if you're excellent at multi tasking. It's less distracting that a phone call or speaking to someone in person. If you can flip from focusing on work, to answering a text, then back to work, brilliant, as long as it doesn't affect your concentration. It can be a very useful skill to master, in so much as you can communicate with others over important matters without it taking a very long time.


If you can't multi task and texting is affecting your focus and concentration, then it is best avoided. Explain to those that usually send you text messages that you may not be able to reply immediately, and that you will get back to them when you can. Most people will understand this as they too have jobs. If your telephone is jingling and vibrating a lot, and it's distracting you from your work, then switch it off, at least for a while. You can always catch up on what's what when you take a scheduled break.


Mobile (cell) phones also have media entertainment these days. Addictive games and browsing the internet are the two most popular. Doing either of these is fine, but on your own time, not when you're just looking to do something other that work.


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Doing things from TYPE 1 list



Family

Family members will often ask you to do errands for them. After all, you're at home doing nothing! You probably have enough of your own errands to fit into your time without having other peoples. Let them know that you are actually working (well, you should be, if your not procrastinating with your own distractions). Learn to be firm and say NO.



Household

Instead of carrying out your other commitments, such as housework and chores, at the allotted times, you find yourself seeking these things out as a procrastination from work. If these things are playing on your mind while you work, maybe you should take a look at how you actually manage to get everything done.



Abandoning your PC simply because you can't focus is often beneficial. So long as you return to work within a short period of time. Getting housework done during these breaks is being productive and is highly beneficial. If you keep leaving your work after only a few moments, and doing household chores just for the sake of it, you're procrastinating.


Get into a good habit of working for X amount of time, then taking a break. Either to do housework or to take some social or personal time.



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Social

You may find yourself seeking out the company of your friends. Working from home can make you feel isolated. The interactions between people at a place of work are socially very important. You are denied these in the traditional way when your place of work is your own home.


Interacting with other people is important. But isn't that what social networking sites and texts where invented for? Indeed. However, sometimes you need to physically mingle with other human beings.


You need to plan ahead for your social activities. If your friends expect you to drop everything at a moments notice, then they will take this for granted. This is a benefit of working your own hours though, you can leave your work and return to it later, if that's what suits you. If you've planned 8 hours of work and get distracted after only 2 hours before you slope off to your mates for a social, without returning to your work later on, then you'll find that you don't get much done


If you find yourself seeking the company of others when you didn't plan it, you need to look at why. Are you just trying to avoid working? Quite possibly. Drinking coffee and chatting can be very satisfying, but not when you're supposed to be doing something productive, then it's just a distraction. Make socialising a reward for when you've completed x, y & z. This will motivate you to get things done so that you can go off and do something else, works a treat.


Personal

Everyone needs time to themselves. Basic human needs such as eating, sleeping, hygiene and leisure time are priorities. If you can't find enough time to do these when you're not working, maybe you should re-evaluate your decision to work at home. If your work is taking over and you can't find the time to carry out the basic necessities, you may want to rethink.


Taking a shower or bath can be done at any time of the night or day. This does depend on what you do with your time apart from work, but is usually the way when you work from home. If your work uniform is your pyjamas and you don't go in the shower until 2pm, then join the club. You don't have to get dressed to go to the office when your office in in your house. Bathing is important, but the timing is yours to decide. Don't let other people (those that don't work at home) tell you any different. It's your choice.


Make sure that you drink enough water and get to eat properly. Your health is depending on it. The refrigerator is calling you!! Beware of this one, over eating can be very habit forming, and leads to more problems. Don't do it, consider yourself warned. That's all I have to say on the subject for now.



Distracted at work

What are your biggest distractions?

  • Internet related, Facebook, Messenger, Shopping etc...
  • Family and friends
  • Watching tv ot reading the newspaper
  • Napping or raiding the refrigerator
  • All of the above :D
See results without voting


These are all of the main distractions that fall into TYPE 2. How many of them affect you? Do they take over your valuable work time? If so, you should take a good look at what you're doing.


Of course, some of these things are part of the attraction of working from home. There is no one there to tell you that you can't do this or must do that. Distractions come with the territory, so be aware. Family, friends, internet and personal desires are all important parts of your life, you enjoy them. But they shouldn't take place at the expense of your productivity at work.


Here's to a balanced and happy life working from home. Keep smiling!

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3 comments

Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois

I teach part time and work from home part time. My kids are out of the house so family isn't too much of a distraction unless my college son calls me asking for money LOL. The best time for me is in the afternoon when the pets are napping (I swear they are like children!), my husband is still at work and I've gotten my second wind with another cup of tea.

My biggest distraction is managing emails/FB and maybe that isn't a distraction as much as a time management issue? I'm involved in a couple organizations so often get asked various questions. Maybe I just need to learn to check email for 30 mins twice a day or something.

good hub


SUSIE DUZY profile image

SUSIE DUZY 5 years ago from Delray Beach, Florida

Thanks for a great hub. I do work from home and get a lot of distractions.


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

For my case, YouTube is a big distraction! I so love it, especially the sites about make-ups - LOL :D I haven't gotten rid of this distraction though :(

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