You're working on your home-based business. You have a plan. You have the passion. You're about to take one more step toward making your dream a reality.
And then, distraction strikes:
- the phone rings
- the baby cries
- a friend texts you
- your spouse barges in to ask you a question
- your dog needs your attention
- there's something really interesting on the internet
You throw up your hands and think, “How am I ever going to succeed if I keep getting distracted?“
You are not alone.
24,000 people who work from home were asked, “What is your #1 challenge when working from home?”
The #1 response (59%) was “family demanding attention.”
And a lot of the other top answers are, basically, “it's hard to avoid distractions.”
It's not just you who has a tough time avoiding distractions while working on your home-based business. Tens of thousands of people across the world also struggle with this.
If you want to be one of the home-based businesses that succeeds, you'll need these 6 tips for avoiding distractions.
Tip #1: Separate planning from doing.
There are some tasks that require your full attention. For example:
- Creating a business plan
- A phone call with a potential client
- Choosing the top priorities for your
- Deciding what to do next
There are other tasks that you could do even while distracted, for example:
- Sifting through emails
- Tweaking the formatting or layout of a document
- Audio editing
- Any simple, repetitive task
Plan your day so that you can give your home-based business your full attention for the most important tasks. When there are no distractions, make a to-do list and separate it into a “boss” list and an “employee” list.
Then, switch between the “boss” role and the “employee” role based on how distracted you are. It's like wearing two different hats in your home-based business:
- Whenever you're not distracted, put on your boss hat and work through your boss to-do list.
- When distractions come up, pause what you're doing, put on your employee hat, and be your own employee. Work through the to-do items on your employee to-do list.
If you can switch hats when needed, distracted time is no longer wasted time – it's time spent building your home-based business.
Tip #2: Embrace imperfection.
Nobody starts a home-based business because they're bored and have nothing better to do. You started a home-based business because you care. And when you care a lot, it's natural to want to do it right.
- What if you got interrupted by your child during that important phone call with a potential client… and it got your client to open up and talk about his kids? What if that connection led to not only a sale, but a profitable business relationship?
- What if your podcast listeners would forgive your background noise? What if it would even help them feel connected to you as a person, which would help them know, like, and trust you?
- What if your barking dog during a webinar gives you an opportunity to show everyone your grace under pressure, and makes a bigger impression than perfection would have?
- What if recording videos in your messy, chaotic house helped your viewers feel “I could do this too?” What if that increased your trust and authority instead of decreased it?
If you produce useful content in your home-based business, your readers/listeners/viewers will forgive a lot of imperfection – and it will make you seem more human, more relatable, and more trustworthy.
Tip #3: Treat your home-based business like a real job.
You're at work, doing the 9 to 5. You're in your cubicle, working hard. Suddenly, your spouse walks in, comes over to you, and asks, “Honey, can you do me a small favor?”
“Umm… Sorry, but I'm at work right now and I've got a lot to do,” you reply. “What are you doing here anyway?”
Everyone understands that when you're at work, you're not available.
So why is it so hard to set boundaries in your home-based business?
There's actually a deep psychological reason, and it's called association. Your family associates “you're home” with “you're available”, because that's how it was before you started your home-based business.
If you want to avoid distractions and ever get any work done in your home-based business, you've got to break that association.
- Create an “AT WORK” sign and put it on your desk when you're working. Make it clear to your family what it means.
- Practice saying, “Sorry, but I'm at work right now. Can it wait until I'm on break?”
- Ask for your family's support in your home-based business. Explain (to those who are old enough to understand) why it's important to you and how they can support you.
And there are even more obvious ways to break the association in tip #4…
Tip #4: Manage your physical environment.
Can you operate your home-based business in a distraction-free place? For example:
- Is there a room you could use that has a door you can close?
- Is there a garage you could use for important phone calls?
- Is there a shed or an outbuilding that could be converted to a home office?
- Could you set up a curtain to separate your home-based business from the rest of your home?
Separating your home-based business physically will help others respect it. It'll help break that association. And it'll help you stay focused, too.
Tip #5: Manage your virtual environment.
The internet is an infinite fountain of distraction.
When you don't need the internet for your work, turn it off.
When you do need the internet for your work, you can keep it distraction-free by using these apps and by removing easy access to distractions (e.g. bookmarks, shortcuts).
You can also:
- Silence your phone while working
- Set up “Do Not Disturb” mode so urgent calls can still get through
- If you need to go to a dangerous, distracting site (for example, you need to use Facebook to promote your home-based business, but you don't want to get sucked in) set a timer before you dive in.
Tip #6: Taste your passion.
You're going to get distracted. Even if you implement all 5 of the above tips, it's still going to happen. But you can make the distractions shorter, and get back to your home-based business more quickly, if you remember why you're doing this in the first place.
What motivated you to start your home-based business? Was it:
- Your desire to make more money?
- Wanting more freedom?
- Dreaming of an idea you want to make into reality?
Create reminders of your motivation and place them around your home. When you get distracted, you'll see these reminders, you'll remember your motivation, and you'll get back to work because you want to.
Your reminders can be:
- A vision board
- An object that remind you of your motivation
- A handwritten note stuck to the wall
Or anything that reconnects you with why you care.
One of the biggest advantages of owning a home-based business is being your own boss. Be a good boss to yourself! Motivate yourself with the carrot, not the stick.
Over to you: Leave a comment and tell me: What's your biggest distraction in your home-based business?