Designing a Distraction-Free Workspace

Work At Home Mom Distracted By FacebookAsk any work-at-home professional or small business owner what her biggest hurdle is when it comes to tackling her to-do list and she’ll likely tell you it’s the constant distractions. OMG YES! I know hands down that this is my #1 reason. The kids need attention. Emails demands to be answered. The phone is ringing. The dogs need to be fed.  

The list goes on. It’s no wonder she – you and me – can’t get anything done!

So how do those uber successful seemingly “have it all” type entrepreneurs do it and are consistently launching things left and right? They start by creating a distraction-free zone.

 A Place of Your Own

 Plenty of us get our start working from the kitchen table, stealing a few minutes here or an hour there when the kids are napping or during lunch. That’s what I did back in 2009 when I first started. But when the business begins to grow and you get really serious about launching your next big thing, it pretty quickly becomes clear that a laptop in the living room is not an efficient way to work. It’s time to find a real office.

 That doesn’t mean you have to go rent space in a high-rise downtown, though.  Though occasionally renting a co-working space is a good idea to meet with clients face to face. But if you run your business from home and want to keep it that way, you just need to carve out a space you can call your own.

 For some, a spare bedroom makes an ideal office space. I took over what I called the “dumping room” (it was like a graveyard for unused stuff in my house) and am currently re-vamping it into an Ikea office dream. But for others with very limited space, a corner of the basement or even a closet will do. The important key is to create a place where, when you’re in it, you know you’re working. And perhaps more importantly, when you’re not in it, you can leave the work behind.

 Virtual Distractions You Can Do Without

 Of course, just having a nice quiet office with a door won’t eliminate all your distractions. There’s plenty of them right on your computer waiting to suck away all your work time. How you deal with those will greatly impact the way you get things done and will also depend largely on the type of work you do.

 For example, many writers find it beneficial to block out all other applications while they work. Tools such as ByWord and OmmWriter eliminate the distractions by offering full-screen text editors that also lack all those formatting bells and whistles of a typical word processor.

 Does the Internet call to you? Do you have to check Facebook and Twitter every 15 minutes to see what’s new? Consider installing browser software such as LeechBlock (for Firefox) or StayFocusd (for Chrome). Both let you block certain sites (Facebook, for example) for specific periods of time. If you want to get in a solid 3 hours of work before embarking on another Candy Crush tournament (really?), just turn on your timer and you won’t be able to access Facebook at all until your work day is done. You can do the same for any site that commands your attention, but keep in mind that if you have more than one browser installed on your computer, you can always click over to the unlocked choice to sneak a few minutes of play time in. So in this case either uninstall the other browsers or install the before mentioned apps so you won’t get derailed.

 The important thing to remember here is that your environment is only the beginning. You need to work on building up your self-discipline as well, so you can say no to distractions and get the work done.

Please share! I want to know, what are your ways to avoid distractions when you’re working on launching your business?

Please comment below.



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  1. says

    YES, couldn’t agree more! Distractions, distractions, distractions! It can be an art to pull in many good hours of focused work. I too started out without my own workspace and as my business grew so did my office and private workspace. I think in all avenues of work, whether at home or away from home in an office we all struggle with work life balance. To me, we learn as we go, keep growing and balancing. :)
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