By February 20, 2013 Read More →

Working from home – 13 ways to waste time, Part 2

More working from home productivity killers from Anthony Chatfield

Work from Home Wisdom - 13 Easiest Ways to Waste Time When You Should Be Working from Home, Anthony ChatfieldLast week Anthony shared seven of the cunning ways he’s discovered to waste time while working from home. Today he’s back with six more:

8. Other ‘Work’
Does the garden need weeding? Is your office in need of a vacuum? Have you been putting off organizing last year’s tax forms? The non-digital itty bitty tasks may look like work, feel like work, and take time like work, but they’re really just distractions when you’re working from home.

Create a time each day (or week) and set it aside for tasks like this. Don’t do them in the middle of your most productive hours each day.

9. Chores?
One of the big downsides to working from home is the fact that every time you get up to go the bathroom, make a sandwich or stretch your legs you can see all the stuff on your household to do list.

The vacuuming, dusting, dishes and laundry with your name on them. It’s EXTREMELY tempting to get just a little done now so you’re ahead later, but it’s a slippery slope, my friend. If you start doing chores mid-day now you’ll find it nearly impossible to keep yourself from them later.

Create break times and a lunch break and try to remain in your work space for the rest of the day without interruption if the lure of home life becomes too strong.

10. General Sloppiness
Procrastination leads to sloppiness.

If you don’t feel like working but know you need to, especially with deadlines looming (and other distractions on this list present), it’s easy to get a little sloppy, start making mistakes and have to go back over it all again.

I got on a kick last summer of using the Dictate feature on my Mac to write articles for a certain project that didn’t require a lot of deep thought. I got into a groove at one point and did 15 or so articles in one hour – the problem, of course, was that I still needed to meet a certain level of quality. So, I spent twice as much time going back over them and editing. I hated it.

Every now and then I’m still tempted to use Dictate. It’s hard to say no when it could get me done an hour earlier, but the thought of TWO hours spent rereading it all tomorrow is enough to keep me on point.

11. Epic Angry Birds Sessions
The ULTIMATE working from home distraction. Bar none.

Maybe it’s not Angry Birds. Maybe you love Farmville (or Farmville 2), Bejeweled, or just watch The Price is Right a lot (love that show).

Games are immensely satisfying, but they are time sucking vortexes. My solution is to set aside “reward time”. Three times a day – every 2-3 hours – I give myself a 15 minute break that I can use for anything I want. I set a timer and read a book, play a game or do a couple rounds of the house.

Maybe you’ll play the game or maybe you won’t, but if you have time set aside for it, it will be much easier to avoid doing it while working.

NOTE: Words with Friends has no redeeming quality. It eats time like a bear just out of hibernation.

12. The Kitchen
Ah, food! How can you not stop and get a snack every few minutes when you’re working from home? I certainly do. When I lived in a one-bedroom apartment and worked on the couch, it was IMMENSELY hard not to get up and walk the fifteen feet to the fridge every hour or so.

Today, I have the benefit of an attic office. I have to walk the length of the house twice, climb over old toys and Christmas ornaments and distract myself for at least 10-15 minutes to get a snack.

If you can make it hard on yourself to get food do it. Work as far from the fridge as you can, bring healthy snacks with you and avoid junk food (don’t buy it if possible). This is a completely different blog post – eating well while working from home is a HUGE challenge.

13. Lots and Lots of Planning
Planning is great. It’s a way to review what you’ve done that worked and didn’t work, make adjustments and set goals. If you’re like me though, you probably get carried away with it.

I’ve finally come up with a solution here. Instead of spending 1-2 hours a day digging through Evernote and wasting time on lists I’ll never read again, I now set aside a specific chunk of time once every 2 weeks to review what I’ve done.

I keep a daily journal and take notes in Evernote, and every 2 weeks I’ll sit down and read all of it, do whatever planning or reviewing I’ve been putting off and get back to work. It’s worked like a charm.

It’s taken me a lot of time to create systems and mental “tricks” that force me to stay busy doing what I should be doing working from home, and yet I still mess up.

My RescueTime productivity score averages 75% week after week, no matter how careful I am, and as I get older, new distractions abound (my son is learning to ask where I am, open doors and ask about baseball, which is very, VERY hard for me to ignore).

But once you have systems in place for working from home, new distractions tend to be easier to ignore, and work continues as it has for years before, not necessarily because you will beat a distraction in any given day, but because you have enough experience to know that, when you are distracted, you’ll make it up and get things done.

You can find out more about Anthony at his blog, and see his attic home office on Home Office Gallery 5.

Have you devised any other clever ways to put off the moment when ‘that’ job just has to be tackled? How long can we make the working from home time wasting list?

Posted in: Procrastination

3 Comments on "Working from home – 13 ways to waste time, Part 2"

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  1. Kaitlyn says:

    This is a superb list!