Dealing with Distractions at Home
We’ve dealt with Distractions At Work, now let’s delve into what you can do to cut down on distractions at home. Whether it is your kids, partner, a messy environment or your own laziness, dealing with distractions at home can trip you up and render you useless. Besides having trouble staying focused and being productive, you are probably also not finding any time to work on your own personal goals, which is the ultimate sacrifice. It is time to take back control over your life.
Change Your Environment
It is said that it is easier to change your environment than to change your behavior. With that in mind, the simple place to start is to reduce or eliminate the things that are distracting you. If you find it hard to resist the lure of your computer, phone or tv then work on what you need to do away from them. If your kids constantly bug you whenever you try to make headway on something, make an effort to get up a little earlier or stay up a little later than they do.
Taking it even further, change up your entire schedule and do the opposite of everyone else. Get up earlier, avoid heavy traffic and run errands at off-peak times (hello supermarket at 11PM). You’ll cut down on the amount of things that can derail your efforts. Yes, this sounds a little crazy, but it just might work for you.
Set up a designated work area in your home. Make it known to your family that when you are in this area you are concentrating on something important. Eventually, your own mind will associate being in that area means time to focus. Make sure you have any and all supplies you need to get the task done, including snacks and beverages. Every time you leave your area is an invitation for others or yourself to get you off track.
Baskets and Containers are Your New Best Friend
Put these all over the house as they can be used for different purposes eliminating time spent searching for misplaced things and the need to constantly be cleaning areas of the house. Plus think of all the fun you’ll have buying and selecting ones for every room in the house.
Misplaced items cause you to stop what you are doing to search for them. Curb this by creating designated areas in your home for specific items. If you have a letter to mail, instead of putting it on a cluttered table, put it right by the door in a basket designated as the “don’t forget’ basket. Buy a holder for your cell phone and place it close to an outlet and store your charger there as well.
Calling all perfectionists! Are you one of those parents when cleaning your child’s room you have everything sorted perfectly…all the stuffed animals in one area, cars don’t get mixed in with army men, that kind of shit. STOP! Group items of similar size into one basket or bin. Makes clean up a breeze, and bonus, your kid can pick up their own damn room.
Kids are more apt to throw something into a basket rather than hang it up or put it up on a shelf. If you have little kids and they tend to play with stuff in every room of the house, have a basket in every corner of every room. Tidying up is no big deal anymore.
Place a hamper in every bedroom and bathroom. Yes, it may seem like overkill, but never having to gather up dirty clothes off the floor is refreshing. Have the kids gather all of them up when you are ready to do laundry and put them back. Kids actually do like to be useful.
Speaking Of Those Kids
Give each child a part of the house to be responsible for or a list of specific chores. Studies show that children feel more competent, capable and part of a team when they are contributing to the household. You may have to get past some grumbles in the beginning, but once they start owning their assignments, you will have more time to focus on things that are important to you.
Write It Down Already
It’s a miracle people are able to remember anything with all the input coming at us from every direction. Lighten the load on your brain. It will make you feel less tired.
Constantly forgetting what people have told you so you end up having to look up information or give them a call? Start carrying a small notebook in your purse or use an app on your phone to jot things down.
Keep a running list. Find a central area to keep either a whiteboard, chalkboard or notebook. Use this to jot down items that are running low, other purchases that need to be made, and any errands to be run. Snap a picture of it with your phone whenever you are headed out the door and knock some things off your list while you are already out.
Near this running list have some type of calendar. Have everyone jot down important dates so that, at a glance, you know what is coming up to be better prepared and avoid being hit by something last minute.
Strengthen Your Attention Span
When you are tired or frazzled, the ability to focus goes out the window. Here are some activities you can do to strengthen your ability to remain on task.
Deadlines are proven to help you stay focused, so set a timer for 15-45 minutes to work on a project or specific chore. You’ll be amazed at how much you can actually get done in a small amount of time.
Write out a schedule of everything you want to get accomplished that day including regular breaks and FOLLOW IT. If you get distracted briefly, one glance at your schedule will get you right back on track. If you need an additional boost to keep on track, set an alarm to ding at regular intervals. That’s your cue to ask yourself if you are doing what you intended to do. If you aren’t, change your course.
Set the mood for what you are doing. If you need to concentrate, listen to white noise or beats designed to keep you focused. Both are easy to find on Spotify. Need energy to blast through some chores? Queue some upbeat music.
Self care is very important. Getting enough sleep, drinking plenty of water, exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet allows you to perform more optimally. To combat stress, practice deep breathing, work some yoga or meditation into your day or keep a gratitude journal. And anything you really enjoy make sure you do it more often.
Figure out three things each day that you want to accomplish and get them done as soon as possible. Once you’ve accomplished those three things, you can continue your momentum and do even more or you have permission to goof off. You’ve accomplished what you wanted to, so it’s your decision.
If you have a big project, like cleaning out the pantry, break it down into smaller steps so it seems less overwhelming. For example, each day do one shelf and then stop. You will be making steady progress and become more motivated with each step.
Dress for what you want to do. If you want to get a workout in, start by just putting on your workout clothes. The odds of you actually doing it will go up. If you are working from home, actually get dressed like you are going into an office. Such a small thing, but it has a big impact on getting you in the right frame of mind for what you are about to do.
Take advantage of productive times or pockets of uninterrupted time. Do you work better in the morning than at night? Then look for ways to free up more time earlier in the day. Is there an hour in the afternoon while the kids are napping? Pay attention to these precious time slots and utilize them to the max.
Implement set schedules where you can. Set out a specific series of steps for say, getting ready for school or work in the morning. Once it sticks you can then run that part of your day on auto-pilot.
Prep whatever you can the night before. Have the kids and yourself pick out clothes for the next day. Prepare any aspect of a meals ahead of time. Have everything needed the next day already arranged in each child’s backpack.
Remember that your time is just as valuable as everyone else’s, and YOU train people how to be respectful of your time. You have the right to say no without having to feel bad about it later. Make it a habit to avoid immediately saying yes when asked to do something. This gives you time to evaluate whether you really want to make time to add it to your schedule or not. And you aren’t required to give a reason why not. A simple “Sorry, I’m not going to be able to work that in.” will do.
A lack of focus isn’t really a failure of will, it’s brain chemistry. So a strategy that may have worked for you one day, may not work the next. You need an array of approaches to diminish the distractions.
Take back control!