Managing Distractions While Working From Home: Everything You Need To Know
Working from home comes with its own benefits and advantages; you can only use them when you know how to concentrate. Once you get the hang of working from home, you can easily manage it. However, unfortunately, most people struggle with focusing on their job when working from home with many distractions around them.
Managing work is challenging because there are multiple distractions causing people to divert their focus onto them instead of the task at hand. For instance, if you have pets or kids, you may likely get distracted by their noises. Children and pets often get antsy when they don’t get enough attention, but when you play with them, you neglect your work in the process.
Most people have heard of this one statistic that says a person is most likely to take around 25 minutes to refocus on their work after a distraction occurs. Regardless, distractions are caused by a multitude of factors and reasons. Let’s discuss a few of the most common distractions, how they affect your speed and which strategies work best.
How Distractions Affect Your Work From Home & Ways to Manage Them
Distractions may not seem problematic but they significantly affect your workflow and speed. If you face many drawbacks or you think your work speed got slow since you started working from home, you are likely struggling with managing the distractions around you, which subsequently affects your work.
Don’t Let Interruptions Come Between Your Work
Interruptions are a common problem when it comes to handling distractions. There was once an experiment where researchers got some volunteers and gave them each a task to handle. When given the task, the researchers also were given their phones, where they constantly kept getting phone calls and emails.
The volunteers weren’t supposed to answer any of those notifications, and while they knew that too, they couldn’t help but feel distracted throughout the job. This made them slower and affected the quality of their content.
Remember, they weren’t indulging or responding to those messages; they only knew they were getting them. The point of the experiment was to make people aware of how interruptions have a detrimental impact on the overall performance of an employee. The volunteers didn’t have to reply, yet they couldn’t focus on their work. Imagine if they were receiving emails and call that needed responses.
To conclude, interruptions aren’t just distracting; if you allow them to invade and burden your brain, then they will lower your IQ levels by 10 whole points. The researchers wanted to convey that interruptions have a detrimental impact on your overall performance.
The best way to solve this is to have an open conversation about your problem and job with your family members and housemates. Create a chart or a sign using any term; it can be “busy,” “in a meeting,” or something as straightforward as “not now.”
Using these signs, you can communicate how you’re busy and working and don’t want to be disturbed. Once you establish a boundary, you can focus on your task more efficiently, and the people in your house won’t text or contact your phone and create any interruptions that may get in the way of your workflow.
Don’t Switch Between Multiple Tasks; They Will Drain More Energy
A study at the University of Minnesota discovered “attention residue.” This term is used to define the delay in your attention span that occurs when you switch between one task and another.
Many people assume they can handle multi-tasking; however, it’s more challenging than it sounds. Often people struggle with keeping up with multiple tasks at the same time.
The mental capacity to switch gears quickly is less efficient than one may think. The brain takes more energy and requires a stronger attention span. This leads to different intriguing conclusions, one of which is that the people who indulge in extreme multi-tasking in media struggle between switching tasks worse than people who don’t multitask.
This is to say that people who don’t multi-task have a powerful mental capacity and usually have a stronger attention span.
This means that people need to consider asking themselves questions about their multi-tasking habits:
- Are they capable of multi-tasking, and can they do it often?
- How long do they take to switch their attention?
- Do they often put off specific tasks because they require more attention?
- Will they benefit more from using their attention on a single task?
- Where can they combine their concentration and multi-tasking skills?
When someone asks themselves these questions, they will be able to recognize their habits and whether their work is leading them to lose concentration. So, it’s best to think again before assuming that multi-tasking is beneficial in all cases. When your speed gets affected, then it defeats the whole purpose of multi-tasking in the first place.
You First Need to Focus on Difficult Projects; it’s Called Cognitive Fixation
There is a term called “cognitive fixation.” If you are often multi-tasking, you may notice how the first activity of the day often receives the most effort. Therefore, it’s best to finish the difficult projects/tasks initially. It’s also proven that the first attempted project is often the one you retain the most information about.
This shows that it’s best if you handle your toughest projects first because you will likely remember them the most and use the most effort. Then throughout the day, you can focus on other more menial tasks.
Some people believe that your work speed may even improve. This usually happens because once you’re done with a difficult project, you won’t have a psychological burden on your mind.
When the burden is alleviated, you can easily focus on the simpler tasks without worrying about a tough project hanging over your head.
Working from home can have many advantages, but you can only benefit once you can manage the distractions. When you have a handle on managing distractions and interruptions, you won’t be late or slow, and you will be able to easily tackle all the challenges (that come with working from home) easily.