Disruptors That You Will Likely Encounter As You Work From Home
The first three months of 2021 have already passed, and it has become abundantly clear that the coronavirus pandemic is not a threat that can be easily eliminated. Most people in the world ushered in the year with high hopes that the pandemic would end. Unfortunately, it is proving much more difficult to eliminate this global threat.
The effects of the pandemic are still alive. For example, the need to wear face masks sanitizing or washing hands, and more importantly, avoiding areas of potential exposure. However, the pandemic is everywhere, including at workplaces, which means that those who work from home will be confined to working from home.
For some, the ability to work from the comfort of your own home is an exciting change, but for others, it is more challenging than expected, mostly because adults left to their own devices have to supervise themselves. The workforce environment usually features a boss who oversees your work. Your boss is not present while you work from home, and even if they are virtually present, remaining focused might be a bit trickier. Here are some of the distractors that will likely affect your productivity as you work from home:
Most of us carry our phones almost everywhere. Some of us even use our phones in the toilet and do not even sanitize the damn device. It is probably the first thing you pick up in the morning when you wake up. Our phones arguably take the crown as the most powerful distractors, and it is not our fault for getting distracted. The human brain seems to crave stimuli, and our phones are built to take full advantage of that.
From screen notifications to tones and rings, all these easily take our attention. For example, if you receive a notification about some breaking news or something interesting, you will want to check it out. Chances are that you will see other news and want to read. Unfortunately, this can easily happen while you work from home, thus making huge chunks of precious time that should have been used to facilitate work productivity.
A simple phone call or text with your friend can easily throw you off track. It becomes increasingly challenging to avoid being distracted by your phone, especially while working at home, especially when there is no boss around to keep you in check.
Social media can be incredibly addictive, and the fact that it is easily accessible through personal devices such as phones makes it all the more dangerous. One visit on Instagram means you will find yourself watching one interesting thing on Instagram, and the mental stimulation you receive from that will have you wanting more. One might find themselves deep in the rabbit hole of infinite scrolling from one interesting thing to another.
Unfortunately, this infinite scrolling will make you lose track of time, and it ends up eating into your productivity because you spent too much time on social media and not enough time working. This is usually not a problem at the workplace because people are more conscious about their actions in such an environment where they know their supervisors will breathe down their neck for wasting time on social media. This psychological motivation at the office tends to take a back seat when most people work from home; thus, they become easily susceptible to this distraction.
Family members and friends
Working from home during the pandemic means being at home with the rest of your family. This may present unusual challenges, especially if you have children because they are not so good at boundaries, and the case may apply to some adults. Sometimes the distraction may manifest in the form of a desire to have conversations with your significant other or other family members. Sometimes the rest of the family might be having a good time watching a movie or having a fun conversation that you might find enticing. In such cases, the fear of missing out might override our ability to get work done.
Most people feel less sense of urgency while working from home compared to when at the office in their usual workplace. This may pave the way to procrastination, leading to more time wasted and less work. In such instances, procrastination may eat into time that would have been used for work productivity.
People who procrastinate often allow themselves to be easily distracted by other things when focusing on work. Unfortunately, pushing back your work is just delaying something that you will have to do inevitably.
How to overcome distractions while working from home
Some of the distractions above highlight the dark side of social media and technology, and unfortunately, they are things that we live with daily. This means that overcoming some of these challenges can be quite challenging but not impossible.
Overcoming the distractions starts with identifying and accepting that they can be a problem and identifying the potential downsides of those problems. There are some steps that you can implement into your daily routine to avoid being distracted while working.
Be disciplined about your phone usage
Since smartphones are the number one source of distraction, the first thing that you should do is to decide when to use the phone and when not to use the phone. Perhaps creating a strategy similar to the one you use at the office might be a great idea. Designate work-from-home hours to turn the phone off to avoid distractions completely, and turn it on during your scheduled breaks.
Develop a strategy for staying off social media
Your workstation at home might still tempt you to access social media platforms even if your phone is off. Develop a strong resilience that helps you avoid such platforms while working so that you can divert all your attention to your work.
Develop a reward system for work at home
Positive reinforcements that include rewards after completing specific tasks will allow you to maintain the excitement of work. You could also gamify the work to make it fun. You could integrate exercise activities into your work breaks, like hitting two birds with one stone.