6 Ways to Avoid Distractions in Your Home-Based Business

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.”[1]

chart of distractions when working from home

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 home based business
  • 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.

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.

But what if you didn't have to be perfect?

  • 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.

Imagine this:

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.

Comic by Asher Sarlin

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?

Pace Smith

Pace Smith is the Pathfinding Coach. She helps sensitive spiritual nonconformists live wild, crazy, meaningful lives. Download her free eBook, Find Your Path Now, to STOP living on autopilot and START living the wholehearted, unconventional life you were meant to live.

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36 thoughts on “6 Ways to Avoid Distractions in Your Home-Based Business

  1. Thank you for some great ideas. I will definitely make use of the boss/employee list idea. My major distractions are my partner having the TV on full blast in the room under my office and the cat thinking she needs a fuss even if she has to sit on my keyboard to get it! The first distraction will disappear once I am in a position to work at home full time and do my tasks during the day . . . . not sure what I can do about the cat though, I’m a sucker for ‘cute’.

    • Thanks, Alecia! Yes, getting into a regular routine can take some effort, but it saves you a huge amount of struggle in the long run because it starts to feel natural and easy.

  2. No.2 has been my biggest distraction. and the idea of having a vision board or a note stuck to the wall , really clicked me , Going to do that First Thing in the morning so that my WHY keeps me Going.
    Thanks a ton , Mr. Tam for the amazing Value.

  3. Great post. My biggest distraction is Also family, but the internet distracts me as well. I love the distinction you made with boss vs. employee. I’m definitely going to use that type of mentality when delegated tasks to myself.

  4. This is awesome! I spend too much time planning and not enough time doing. I’m the person who will spend hours designing a business card but no time actually working my business. I’m getting there though. This is great!!

  5. Thanks Pace great tips. My biggest distracton is by far the internet and me being attracted to something I see on Social Media. I also distract myself with things like walking through the house and deciding something domestic needs doing. I did find the adjustment to working from home difficult for many of the reasons you have listed.

  6. I really like the tip on braking the association. And as for the phone, I make certain time frame for calls and letting family members and business associates aware of that time I take calls

  7. I always find that I get distracted from my business when I am engaging on social media. It is super easy to get lost in the newest dog video, or a funny meme. In the beginning of my virtual business, I was constantly losing focus. However, now that I have put a system into place, and I have made it a point to focus only on income producing activities when I am on social media, everything is going great! I am no longer distracted by social media in my home based business. Thanks for the great article Pace! 🙂

  8. Interesting that you’ve written about this topic because I have been working on all these things. #2 is hard to overcome but I’m much better now than when I started. Also I love your #6 and will be trying this right away. Thanks, Pace, for such a great article.

  9. This was a GREAT read! With 3 kiddos to take care of and 1 husband that likes attention, it can be hard to focus on the tasks at hand.
    I’m definitely going to use some of these one-liners when I get interrupted- Especially the “What are you doing here?” Epic!

  10. Love this post! Especially about not being perfect. Nobody is and people relate to each other imperfections, struggles and solutions. Thanks Pace!

  11. Thank you these tips are easy to implement and the two I know I will use the most are putting my phone in silence which will help me stay focused and stop wondering who is calling me. The second is the timer for the social media vortex!

  12. Hi! This is a great article and there are a lot of great tipps in there that I will also use.

    My experience is that I always try to write my blog post at a specific time – it is like a schedule that I follow also for my Business on home. This way I also feel obliged to do the work that is necessary. And the less time I have, the more I get done this way!

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