With the very best will in the world even the most disciplined of characters can find themselves distracted when they work from home.
Here we're not talking about distractions that come from outside of the home, like visitors or personal phone calls, although these are common complaints. Instead we'll focus on some of the distractions that can, if the work at home entrepreneur isn't careful, eat up a lot of what was supposed to be work time each day.
Domestic and home maintenance pressures:
When you are working in the home environment it's crucial that you apply extra discipline when it comes to not allowing domestic chores to infringe upon your work time. This is easier said than done. If minor repairs like a door that needs fixing or domestic chores like washing the curtains are niggling you set aside time to deal with them. If you are constantly aware of these 'things-that-need-doing' you'll become preoccupied and less able to apply yourself to business matters.
Personal paperwork and billing:
Try to set aside a specific time in the week or the month when you deal solely with paperwork and bills pertaining to the home and your personal life. Don't let handling these overlap into work commitments. You know how a phone call to an energy supplier can quickly turn into several diverts to different departments. This eats time. Don't let it eat work time.
Sounds of life around you:
Many people who work at home share their house with other family members. Be they working adults or school children, there will be times when their leisure time overlaps with your work time. Trying not to be distracted by the sounds of them living their lives while you're working is difficult, especially if you are mindful to split your time fairly between work, rest and play.
TV and Radio:
You may claim that you work better with a little background noise and this may be true to an extent. But, television and the radio can prove distracting when you need to concentrate. Try to resist temptation and watch TV or catch up with radio programs in your leisure time. If you really can't function without some background noise and feel you need to it alleviate any feelings of isolation you might feel as a work at home entrepreneur, keep the volume low and choose unobtrusive music.
You may well need to be online for work reasons but don't let your lunchtime visits to social networking sites span the whole afternoon, unless of course you are networking for commercial reasons. It's amazing how much time can be frittered away chatting with friends when you're meant to be working. It's one of the reasons many large corporations ban their employees from visiting certain sites during working hours.
The same goes for online shopping. While this may save you time in one respect it can quickly use up far more than is necessary. Browse online stores during your lunch break or in your free time.