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Business Unplugged™
This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.

Avoiding Distractions: Making Your Home Office Work

Written By: Erin Kelly | No Comments

There is nothing better than working at home. The short commute, the relaxed wardrobe (pajamas and sweats for most of us), and comfy environment. The only downside can be the distractions.

Yes, I am talking about the daily home activity that can lure you away from your computer: partner, kids, TV, laundry, etc.

Even the pets can become a distraction when you are trying to get work done. I have a huge Maine Coon cat that thinks he is my personal assistant and sits on my desk while I work. I caught him deleting my emails when I left the room one day! No lie!

So, how do you stay productive in this cozy – yet sometimes chaotic – environment? Here are a few tips to help you make working at home productive.

Create a true office space

The biggest mistake I see is the way people have set up their home office. Don’t take that desk from your childhood and put it in a room and call it your office. Invest some time and money to make it a nice space.

I find a lot of people choose not to work in their home office. Instead, they spread out in the living room or kitchen area. When I see their office space, I understand why.

Evaluate what furniture pieces you need. Do you need file cabinets or supply cabinets? In order to truly be productive, you need a separate space. A space that you can leave once your workday is over.

Keep it well stocked

What supplies do you need to accomplish your job? Stock up on the supplies you need and use on a regular basis so you aren’t always running out to get something.

If you take a brainstorming approach to your work, be sure to set up some dry erase boards or bulletin boards.

And, don’t forget the sticky notes.

Stay fueled up

Want to stay hydrated? Think about bringing in a small fridge and stocking it with your favorite beverages.

Snack runs are another common diversion from work. Before you know it, you are chatting with your partner, kids, or roommates and there goes 20 minutes.

And for those of you who love your coffee or tea, consider setting up the Keurig or whatever in your office.

Set boundaries

If your family is home during the day, keep your office door closed to avoid being distracted by the noise and activity.

Hang a sign on the door to let everyone know when you are on conference calls so they keep the noise down.

My cousin used to hang color-coded signs on the door so his family knew when he was available. A red sign meant no entry.

Schedule breaks

Make sure you leave your office occasionally and give yourself some time to rest. It’s tempting to get involved in household tasks, but choose to give yourself a real break. Time away from the office can help you come back feeling reenergized.

Plan for the next day

Before your end your day, make a plan for the next day. This will enable you to separate from your work time and start your personal time.

I do this each day. I write a list of my goals, which gives me the clarity and focus I need to get things done. I like to hit the ground running each morning.

After working in an office environment for many years, I treasure my home office. I find that I am more relaxed and more productive. If you follow these tips, I hope you will be as well.

Article written by
Erin followed her lifelong passion of organizing and started Arranged By Erin in 2004. For the last 13 years she has helped hundreds of families organize their space and set up their new homes. Erin is also a blogger and sought after speaker. In her free time she love to watch football and the Chicago cultural scene.