In this article, two writers provide tips for managing remote work distractions. They're ideal for any parent balancing a job and family.
If you're juggling life as a full-time parent with work, you're constantly facing the challenge of getting things done on time.
Motherhood involves a ton of unforeseen events outside your control. No matter how well you plan, there's going to be a challenge when it comes to working or beating deadlines.
As a blogger, I understand the hardships of being in a creative field while taking care of kids at home. I write a lot of articles every week, and I basically spend most of my time at home with my kids.
Some days, I cannot find the motivation to write or work because of chores and my kids' constant need for attention.
Thankfully, I've learnt how to work from home. I can set my mind to “work mode” even if my work environment is not that favorable. And setting a routine and training my mind to adopt some productivity tricks have helped me accomplish more while working less.
This post explains how to manage remote work distractions based on our experiences as writers.
- 1. Create a Dedicated Workspace
- 2. Note Your Ideas On the Go
- 3. Work In Short Bursts
- 4. Review Only When You Are Free
- 5. Spot Your Creative Times
- 6. Eliminate Notifications
- 7. Avoid Work When Overwhelmed
- 8. Plan The Day With Your Family
- 9. Track Your Day
- 10. Plan Your Week Every Sunday Evening
- 11. Complete Easy Tasks During Commercial Breaks
- 12. Learn From Other Homeworkers
- 13. Make The Most Of Dead Time
- 14. Take Advantage Of Nap Times
- 15. Give Kids Fun Projects To Do While You're Working
- 16. Use Noise-Cancelling Headphones
- Final Word: Remote Work Distractions
- Remote Work Distractions FAQs
1. Create a Dedicated Workspace
Remote workers can work anywhere they want. The bedroom, living room, and even bathrooms aren’t off-limits. But, that doesn't mean you should.
Instead of working everywhere, create a space away from any distractions. Is there a corner of your house where nobody goes, for example, the spare room, home office or at the kitchen table.
2. Note Your Ideas On the Go
When brainstorming a big project, you need to map out the topics, layouts, headings, and even the flow of the articles carefully.
And it's impossible to do this in one sitting if you're a stay-at-home mom or face lots of distractions.
To tackle this, jot down every idea you get on a piece of paper. Ideas could pop up any time, and even if we make mental notes about them, we can easily forget crucial details that could be beneficial.
I keep a tiny notebook with me so whenever I'm cooking, dropping my kids off at daycare, doing laundry, or playing with my children, I can easily jot down useful ideas.
The ideas you collect will help you format your writing quicker than when you're starting from scratch. This makes you far more productive.
This productivity tip has easily doubled my writing efficiency.
3. Work In Short Bursts
Writer's block is the worst. We want to write, but simply can't get anything out.
If you want to write more often, work in short intervals or during the hours when you feel more motivated and energized.
Let's say you are writing a piece on fashion trends. Write a segment of the blog post in the morning, pick up where you left off in the evening and finish it up that night.
This way, you'll have a chance to write a better article because you have fresher ideas, and you're not just writing the piece for the sake of finishing your work early. The Pomodoro technique is ideal for this.
4. Review Only When You Are Free
No piece of content is finished without some self-editing. The golden rule I follow as a blogger is not to review my articles when I have a lot of distractions.
Reviewing my work when I can't give my full attention means wasting time and this causing the quality of my work to suffer.
Only review and finalize work when there are no external disturbances. I usually edit blog posts late at night or early mornings because the kids are sleeping, and I can easily spot errors and make necessary changes.
5. Spot Your Creative Times
Do you know what time you're most productive? Maybe not.
Daily chores related to kids swamp all work-at-home moms. But if you look closely, you can find times when you have a quiet time to work. If you develop a routine of writing during your most productive hours, you can work more in less time.
My most productive work hours are in the morning. I have developed a routine of completing remote work and blog posts before preparing breakfast for my family.
Peaceful mornings give us a chance to plan out our remote work without being disturbed.
Find out what your quiet times are and do your most important tasks during that time. It could be when your kids are playing, napping, or at school.
6. Eliminate Notifications
When my kids are sleeping, I sit to write my content, put my phone away and stop browsing the web. Focusing on what I want to work on during my most productive times is vital to getting things done.
Writing not only requires focus but undivided attention. Even the slightest sound can stop your thought process, so it's important to cut out distractions before you start writing.
When you complete your remote work without interruptions, the quality of it will be incredible. Freedom app is useful for this.
7. Avoid Work When Overwhelmed
It's normal for stay-at-home moms to feel stressed out, especially if they're writing for a living. I've learned not to work when I am stressed because when I do, the output isn't as good as I want it to be.
To be more productive, I've learned to take breaks and relax before attempting to write again. Taking breaks helps me unload the things occupying my mind and can help me focus more on my work.
8. Plan The Day With Your Family
Why not plan the day in the morning as a family? Think of it as a family meeting. This allows you to cultivate a better work-life balance that suits all parties.
Each morning, set boundaries with older kids about when it's ok to come into a home office.
If your family know you have a designated time set aside for them, they’re less likely to bother you while working.
This approach gives your kids peace of mind knowing that they’ll get to play later. It also allows you to get more work done without any distractions or disputes with a partner.
9. Track Your Day
It's worth tracking if the plan goes according to schedule.
It's kind of like budgeting. You can’t move forward if you don’t know how much money you’re earning and spending. But if you know your numbers, you can identify where to cut down and save money.
Similarly, if you don’t know how you’re spending working hours, you’ll never know where to improve. Rescue Time can help track these hours.
Armed with these insights, you can work and spend time with family or split childcare with a partner.
10. Plan Your Week Every Sunday Evening
Planning out the week in advance is good idea for avoiding overwhelm. However, if you're only reacting to tasks as they come up, your productivity will suffer.
You always want to be on top of things and the best way of doing that is by planning out your week.
Life is unpredictable and you never know what’s going to happen, but this should stop you from trying to be proactive.
Each Sunday evening set out one to three clear goals or priorities for the week and block book time in your calendar to work on them. Share this calendar with family members.
11. Complete Easy Tasks During Commercial Breaks
While I don’t recommend doing creative work if it's noisy, completing easy tasks during commercial breaks can immediately cut your to-do list in half.
Tasks that I love completing during commercial breaks with my kids include:
- Reading emails
- Responding to emails and social media messages
- And reading informative articles.
You might think that working for five minutes is insignificant. But if you multiply that over several commercial breaks and a few TV shows, you’ve just completed more than one hour's worth of work. And for work at home moms, an extra hour every day is like a bar of gold.
12. Learn From Other Homeworkers
If you want to climb Mount. Everest, you must learn from people who already did it. The same principle goes for increasing your productivity while working at home.
A more experienced friend might offer advice on how they manage a hectic workload with a persona life. Places to meet other remote workers include:
- Business networking events
- Online groups related to your industry
- And your son or daughter's classes like soccer or karate.
Keeping in touch with other remote workers will stave off the loneliness of working remotely.
13. Make The Most Of Dead Time
As a homeworker, you face other responsibilities like cooking, cleaning, taking your kids to school or running errands. Why not minimize some of this dead time?
You could take a call while walking. Or listen to audiobooks or podcasts while you’re cleaning or driving. This allows you to multi-task and get more done. You’re also making the most out of your busy schedule.
14. Take Advantage Of Nap Times
Kids are active. Everything they do involves running around, playing, and having a blast. And it’s no wonder that when early afternoon rolls around, they’re out for the count.
If your kids nap, take advantage of this window for team calls, if possible. Think of it as a free pass to increase your productivity and do whatever you want.
15. Give Kids Fun Projects To Do While You're Working
Most homeworkers struggle with interruptions noise while at home. One main reason why is kids get bored.
So, give them something fun to do.
Create an awesome project about a hobby your child has. For example, if they love racing, create an assignment on racing and include stuff like their favorite racers and cars. Give it to him or her during your morning meeting as it’s sure to keep them busy for hours.
16. Use Noise-Cancelling Headphones
If background noise is an issue where you work at home, considering investing in a set of noise-cancelling headphones. They're conducive to focus and deep work.
Wearing a set while concentrating will help you get more value from the work day. That's assuming someone else is watching the kids!
Final Word: Remote Work Distractions
Most remote workers encounter challenges while working at home, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Managing distractions in a noise house is difficult, but it isn’t impossible.
If you implement these tips into your routine, you can accomplish more and still find time for a busy home life.
Want more? Check out our list of working from home tips and tricks.
About The Authors
Sireesha is a career blogger and founder of Crowdworknews.com. Sireesha has been featured on websites like Moneyish, Payoneer, Virtual Vocations, Fairygodboss, Side Hustle School, Spark Hire, and MyCorporation.
Yaseen Sadan is a copywriter and business owner from South Africa.
Remote Work Distractions FAQs
Can I Work Out Of A Coffee Shop?
If you live in a house with lots of people and there are always distractions no matter how hard you try to avoid them, then working out of a coffee shop is your best bet. Although there’s quite a bit of background noise, you’ll still be able to zone in and get deep work done.
If your household is quiet and it’s easy to eliminate distractions, then working in a coffee shop isn’t a good idea since it’ll be more distracting than your office space. If you spend a lot of time on the phone, working in a coffee shop is a bad idea due to noise.
How Do I Get Rid Of Online Distractions?
Disable your social media notifications or use software like Freedom App or Rescue Time. These tools stop you from going down that rabbit hole and wasting valuable hours.