If you are self-employed or spend a lot of time working online, odds are very good that you have struggled with finding ways to be more productive. Getting more accomplished is always on our minds, but it is especially important to those of us who work from home or on the computer. If we could crunch a normal day’s’ worth of work down from eight hours to five, we would have a lot more time to spend doing things that we want to do.
I have actually struggled with this issue a lot! I have always had a hard time concentrating for long periods of time as it is, so working online has presented me with some huge challenges. It seems like I am always distracted by something, or thinking about something else. Before I know it, I get lost on another train of thought… and realize that I have wasted twenty minutes doing nothing!
If you have suffered from similar time-wasting tendencies, don’t feel bad. For one, you are definitely not the only one who deals with this. And two, you can definitely improve your ability to remain focused… you just need a plan and some ideas.
Here are some ideas that have helped me to overcome my vulnerability to distraction. All of them have made a difference for me, and you will most likely find that being more focused and getting more done starts with a few simple decisions on your part.
It is amazing how many people will try to work when they are not even comfortable… and then, they wonder why they cannot seem to get anything done! Make sure that you are in a comfortable office chair, that your desk is the appropriate height, and that you are not straining your neck or eyes when you look at the computer monitor.
Take Care Of Your Body
Just because you sit at a computer does not mean that you are not prone to injury! I once had a friend who was looking for an auto accident chiropractor in Brighton MI. This friend worked online, just like me… and he said that the chiropractors he talked to continually stressed the need for him to use ergonomically friendly equipment. One example of something that he found helpful was a mouse pad with wrist support. He hadn’t really thought about it before, but he often dealt with wrist fatigue, and this minor change solved that problem completely.
Cut Out Distractions
One of the worst eight-letter words for me when it comes to getting distracted is Facebook… but any social networking site (or any entertainment websites period) can prove to be a very serious distractor for individuals who spend a lot of time online.
Try to make yourself a rule that says you cannot open a Facebook tab until after you have gotten so much accomplished, or unless you are on a break, etc. Cutting out this time-wasting temptation could help you to get a lot more done in the long run! Sites like Youtube and Twitter are also big time-wasters (unless you are utilizing them to market your business).
Structure Your Work Day
It is extremely important to make sure that your workday is structured. Try to start at a regular time, and schedule regular breaks throughout the day. Take a ten-minute break every hour, and a half-hour or an hour for lunch. Really try to stick to this routine! If you get done early, great! If not, then you can stop at the end of the workday with the knowledge that you did a good job and stay on schedule. You will have nothing to feel sorry for because you put in a good day’s worth of work… and that is what matters!
This will give you a lot more time to spend with your family. If you don’t structure your workday, then you will be more likely to work long hours to ‘make up’ for the time that you spent distracted and doing other things.
Choose a Distraction-Free Workplace
When choosing a room to work in, here are some things to avoid…
- Rooms with a TV
- Rooms with other people in them
- Rooms where you cannot get comfortable
- Rooms with projects/items that could distract you (For me it is my music room! I would be tempted to play my drums all day instead of work.)
By following these five simple guidelines, you can hopefully cut down on the bulk of your distractions each day. Just remember to keep working, and try to visualize what you will gain as a result of staying focused… more time with your family, more time doing what you want, and less time in front of a computer screen!