I read an article on Forbes that listed the top 10 workplace distractions and how to deal with them… from gossiping coworkers and being bombarded with email messages — to phone calls and text messages. But I didn’t see this:
Right now, this hyper girl is chewing on a bone that is hitting the base of my chair in a regular beat. Bang. Bang. Bang. While my hound dog made the shortlist of my top distractions when working from home, she didn’t capture the number 1 slot.
TOP 5 WORKPLACE DISTRACTIONS WHEN WORKING FROM HOME:
- Communication. I’m lumping email, text messages and phone calls into one. It doesn’t matter if you work in an office with coworkers or work from home, communication is a huge time sink. If I’m not being productive, it’s because I’m putting out fires and updating others. From my favorite brother/boss ‘just checking in’ — to the audience member who ‘just wanted to reach out’ (both of which are awesome… just distracting) — there are days I barely keep my head above water because I’m too busy doing busy work.
- It’s not really “work” because you’re at home. That’s the biggest misconception I face. I still have times that family and friends don’t “get it” that what I do is a job. I just do it from home. After 20 some years of reminders, sometimes they still forget.
- Everything is YOUR job. If you work in an office with others it’s either your job (for example) to get items from UPS or FedEx… or it’s someone else’s job. When you work from home, you get the deliveries. You are the receptionist. No matter what it is — everything is your job.
- Door-to-door visitors. No matter if you’re wanting to replace my windows or hand me a religious pamphlet, you are annoying and a workplace distraction. It’s even worse where I’m located now… this is a hot spot for door-to-door people going house to house to house.
- Pets and children. Dogs and kids make noise when they shouldn’t, and they need something at the very second that is most difficult for you to provide it. Because I have the opportunity to speak with a ton of wonderful people who work remotely, I get to know quite a bit about them. For example, I can tell you that the person that books events for well-known motorcycle company has a chocolate lab just like me, I know that the gentleman who runs a manufacturing company with offices across the US works from home 1/2 the time and has 2 rescue dogs, and I know the VP of Marketing for a large tech company has 3 kids, 2 dogs and a cat and she works from home 4 days a week. Not only have I seen my own hound be a distraction, but have witnessed it first hand with many, many others who work from home.
So there’s my list of distractions — but unlike Forbes, I didn’t suggest how to deal with these distractions effectively. Why? Because I believe that distractions are just a part of life. Some distractions are non-negotiable and others make work interesting. #4 above; however, should eliminated because it snowballs. Someone knocks (#4 distraction), and my dogs bark (#5 distraction). Because everything is my job (#3 distraction), I must take action and stop all other communication (#1 distraction). The only people who aren’t touched by #4 is #2… the people who think you do nothing but chat on the phone and play on the computer all day.
Feel free to add to my list if you have work-at-home experience, and go ahead and tell me how much worse you have it if you work in an office/factory setting every day.