11 Awesome tips to Work without Distraction

Posted in Freelance, Tips, Web Design • Posted on 34 Comments

In this article I aim to give you some tips on how to be able to work better, undisturbed by everything that is going on around you. Depending on what you work with it may some times be a big advance to be able to work without the interruption from Facebook, e-mail, texts, TV, radio or other things.

Working from home can be a big challenge which is why I decided to share some these tips. Especially if you need to use your creativity and concentrate, it can be hard to get back into the workflow if you are constantly interrupted.

Here are 11 ways to be able to work better in an environment without too much “noise” around you.

1. Make rules

Picture by Lavinia Marin

If you work from home and/or as a freelancer it takes a lot of discipline to be able to work as efficient as you should. The good thing is that you can set your own work hours, but it requires a lot of discipline to work out. My hottest tip on this subject is to make yourself an hour-to-hour timetable for every day. I use the first hour of every Monday to plan the rest of the week. That way it is a lot easier to get a full overview of what needs to be done. Looking into some sort of time management application can be very beneficial aswell.

2. Choose what can disturb you (and when)

It is important to look through your routines and decide what you can allow to “disturb” you. The more unneccessary applications you have open at one time, the bigger chance it is to lose quite a lot of time to that during the day. Don’t be on Twitter, Facebook or similar services unless you have to. If you must check them during the work hours, at least make sure to do it at set time. Same with e-mails and phone calls where you can do certain adjustments too.

Picture by Pascal Montsma

3. Turn off the tv and/or radio

Picture by Vince Petaccio

Unless you for some reason work better when you have the TV or radio on, you should just turn it off before you start working. It’s very easy to be distracted and during a week the this can steal a lot of valuable time away from you if you’re not careful. Some people work best with the radio on in the background, but be careful. Try radio stations that only play music, iTunes, Spotify or Antenna. Just remember that if you have anything turned on in the background, it should be something that doesn’t draw attention away from your work.

4. Answer mails and DMs to specific hours

Once you start getting a few mails directed from your website, ongoing projects and so on, you will see that it can quickly take your mind off what you were doing in the first place. If you decide to look through and answer these one or two times during the day, you will soon feel that your workflow gets a lot better real quick. Same goes for Facebook and Twitter messages, along with other kinds of social media. Decide when you can reply to these and do it that way.

5. Eat at set hours

Picture by Foxumon

Food is important to be able to work well. If you are too hungry or too full it’s harder to focus on what you are doing. The breakfast is the most important meal of the day – always take the time to eat properly in the morning. If you feel you don’t have time to eat properly before you start working, then get up 15 minutes earlier instead. Having a set time for lunch as well, is a good thing for both your body and brain. If you don’t have set hours for eating it can affect the workflow in many ways.

6. Work when you work (everything else should wait)

Keep private errands away from your work schedule. You would be surprised if you realized how quickly a little private mail, phone call or errand eats quickly of your work time. Decide that you will leave everything that is not work related until the afternoon when your day at work is over.

7. Make the best surroundings for yourself

Picture by Henk L

If you sit more or less all day in front of the computer, you have to take a look at your surroundings to make sure you get the work done the best way possible. Make sure your chair is good, that the room isn’t too hot or cold and don’t leave old coffee cups and mess all over your desktop. A little “mess” can be good for your creativity, but try to keep it at a decent level. Remember to get up off your chair for at least a few minutes every hour or so to get your blood flow going.

8. Software settings

If you write a lot, I would recommend a program like jdarkroom where the program can be used in full-screen to not let you be disturbed by other programs or system messages that may pop up. Set as many programs as possible to work in full-screen as it can really boost your workflow. If you have set your system to do timed defragging or backups/virus-scans, try to have these run either in the background (if they can) or set them to run when you are not working.

9. Upload and tag in bulks

If your work requires uploading files/art to various websites, I suggest that you do this in bigger amounts at a time. The same goes for tagging files you import from your camera or elsewhere. By doing things in bulks you get way more efficient. Instead of getting your workflow disturbed by uploading or tagging one thing at the time you will get more done in less time, and keep those tasks from interrupting other parts of your work.

10. Say STOP

Picture by Leslie Watts

When working from a home office it’s important to have the ones you live with understanding that when you’re in there, you’re at work. If you have someone else in the house while you’re working, you may need to have a conversation to them about this. Explain that you need to be undisturbed when you’re in there to be able to get things done. Even if they don’t understand it, at least make them respect it. Set up some rules for when you can be disturbed and not. Keep the door closed if possible.

11. Be consistent

When you’ve made your rules and changed all software and such to fit your plans, the hardest part comes. Now it’s time to actually follow through. Try to stick to your plans no matter what. Obviously there can be very rare situations that can be “excuses” to not follow your daily schedule, but these should be very rare.

Picture by Zsuzsanna Kilian

Those were my tips on how to be able to work undisturbed. Most of these things are very logical but easy to forget in the heat of the moment. I hope you found this useful to you in your situation and invite you to share your own tips and feedback in the comments.

Thank you for reading! :)

36 Written ArticlesWebsite

A girl with passion for design, photography, business planning, freelancing, inspirational art and Photoshop/Illustrator. She runs the website Designer77 and you can follow her on twitter here: @Hildy77

34 Comments Best Comments First
  • Geld lenen

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 01:43

    1

    Great tips, this is something that i’m going to use…

    0
    • Hilde

      Friday, April 23rd, 2010 09:36

      11

      Thank you so much :)
      Very happy to hear that you found it useful.

      0
  • Gregor Colnik

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 16:29

    13

    great advices :)

    0
  • Itinerarist

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 10:40

    14

    I work at home and parents wife friends kids treat me like a person that doesn’t work, they never understand I am busy they think I am available anytime to help them as I don’t have a boss watching me.

    0
    • jeprie

      Friday, April 23rd, 2010 15:25

      20

      Yeah. I understand that.

      0
  • Johnson Koh

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 11:58

    16

    Interesting topic to touch on and congrats Dainis! This site is getting more and more informative!

    0
  • Cook

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 17:48

    15

    grt tips……..thx for sharing

    0
  • Hilde

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 09:35

    10

    Happy you enjoyed!
    Thank you :)

    0
  • Lars

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 01:37

    3

    Some very good tips. I’ve worked from home before both as a freelancer and contract jobs and it is extremely easy to get distracted or take longer breaks for food, tv watching, relaxation or random stuff when you get stuck on a task.

    It’s definitely important to have a clear to-do list and set out goals for each day and be clear about what you want to achieve every day. If you set tasks for the entire week without breaking it down to a daily to-do list it’s easy to end up procrastinating more and leaving the bulk of the work to the end of the week.

    Using a GTD (get things done) approach and breaking larger tasks into smaller achievable tasks will also create an improved sense of progress and motivate you to continue ticking things off your list.

    0
    • Hilde

      Friday, April 23rd, 2010 09:38

      12

      Hi Lars!
      Thank you so much for your good feedback. Definitely agree with you! :)
      Breaking the tasks into daily goals helps to keep the pace. It isnt healthy for anyone to be left with “all the work” on Friday etc. Very good point.
      Thanks for commenting! :)

      0
  • Jack

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 03:51

    2

    It is very difficult to work without being disturbed, even at offices. Imagine at home, when you have kids and other relatives.

    0
    • Hilde

      Friday, April 23rd, 2010 09:35

      9

      Hi Jack :)
      Yeah, you’re right. It’s challenging but definitely manageable :)

      0
  • providenz

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 09:43

    4

    I know all that, but I can’t manage to follow these advices! I’m reading this blog instead of working…

    0
    • aykut

      Friday, April 23rd, 2010 19:16

      18

      :) That’s exactly who I am. I think no solution for that. I am just lazy.

      0
  • dario-g

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 10:53

    5

    Yeah… Did you see paradox? I should unsubscribe all rss channels, including this one. Thanks to that I will have more time for my projects :)

    Anyway, good article. :)

    0
  • Antoine Guedes

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 08:03

    7

    I do work at home from time to time and I have no problems.
    When I started it was a bit difficult because I had to explain to my girlfriend I need to be focused, but she understood well.
    As you said on your article the best thing is talking with people.

    Oh! And by the way, I work with a cat at home. It’s cute and more funny.

    Good article, really!

    0
    • Hilde

      Friday, April 23rd, 2010 09:34

      8

      Thanks for your feedback Antoine! :D
      Yes I agree, cats do rock ;)

      0
  • Tom Dringer

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 11:59

    6

    Excellent article. Any way to stop kids from disturbing your work?!

    0
  • cooljaz124

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 12:29

    17

    What if my gf calls ??? hehe

    Nice article.

    0
  • Shirley

    Tuesday, May 4th, 2010 14:38

    29

    LOL @Charles

    And I want a studio manager like Joe’s!

    Thank you Hilde, for the great post. Right now I’m stuck when it comes to work station – I live in a broom closet size room but hope to have a nice desk soon :)

    0
  • TechThem

    Monday, April 26th, 2010 01:30

    28

    Yes, these tips are so true, and i agree with all of them :) Working from home is not easy because you distract in seconds for like hours..

    0
  • Violet

    Tuesday, August 10th, 2010 16:13

    30

    Thank you so much for the tips! I like how you said “Unless you for some reason work better when you have the TV or radio on, you should just turn it off before you start working.” I am one of those eccentric designers that CANNOT work unless there is music or, preferably, TV going on in the background. Silence or just the clicking of the mouse/keyboard just makes me too anxious and nervous. =)

    0
  • wushi

    Saturday, September 4th, 2010 17:32

    31

    Great tips, thanks for sharing.

    I work out and freelance and home, so I’ll definitely benefit from these tips

    0
  • Clod

    Sunday, February 12th, 2012 16:06

    34

    Thanks for the useful tips. I hadnt thought of number 8, setting applications to full screen. Makes sense now that I think of it…less distraction from other apps. Also point 1, making some ground rules, is really important.

    0
  • Billy Miller

    Monday, March 21st, 2011 10:57

    33

    Awwww haha I really need to start following all these tips better!

    Anywho, thanks for the post and great list.

    Cheers! =)

    0
  • Phil

    Sunday, January 30th, 2011 13:24

    32

    Hi,

    I think that your tips are excellent and
    really helpfull.

    All the best
    Phil

    0
  • joe

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 14:44

    19

    It all comes down to self-discipline. I have the radio on all day. My dog (studio manager) is in and out of the studio all day as well. There are times that my wife and 2 daughters are all home at the same time and pop in for visits. There’s no need to deprive yourself of things because of your lack of discipline. There are a couple tips here that I totally agree with, others, well they sound good in theory, but for the most part, it all comes back to you. If you don’t have the focus to work at home, you really shouldn’t be doing it. Set up a structure all you want, if you don’t have focus… nothing will work.

    0
  • Charles

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 22:09

    21

    This article is great because it distracts me from my work.

    0
  • lush

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 17:07

    22

    another one, stay away from your bed!!
    never put your desk in front of it!
    :)

    0
  • Mahmud Ahsan

    Sunday, April 25th, 2010 08:52

    25

    Definitely awesome tips. Now a days, keep open twitter, facebook page makes lots of distraction. I also changed status of my IM to @Work when I work, so that unless very important people couldn’t contact me.

    0
    • Hilde

      Sunday, April 25th, 2010 23:46

      26

      Thanks Mahmud :)
      Great tips from you aswell!

      0
  • Husien Adel

    Saturday, April 24th, 2010 01:27

    24

    very nice article :D i will do all the point above esp i am working as freelancer :D

    thanks my dear ;)

    0
    • Hilde

      Sunday, April 25th, 2010 23:46

      27

      Thanks Husien! :)
      And the best of luck to you!

      0
  • designfollow

    Saturday, April 24th, 2010 00:18

    23

    Excellent tips.

    The problem is that everyone knows and can not be applied.

    0
  • Clod

    Sunday, February 12th, 2012 16:06

    34

    Thanks for the useful tips. I hadnt thought of number 8, setting applications to full screen. Makes sense now that I think of it…less distraction from other apps. Also point 1, making some ground rules, is really important.

    0
  • Billy Miller

    Monday, March 21st, 2011 10:57

    33

    Awwww haha I really need to start following all these tips better!

    Anywho, thanks for the post and great list.

    Cheers! =)

    0
  • Phil

    Sunday, January 30th, 2011 13:24

    32

    Hi,

    I think that your tips are excellent and
    really helpfull.

    All the best
    Phil

    0
  • wushi

    Saturday, September 4th, 2010 17:32

    31

    Great tips, thanks for sharing.

    I work out and freelance and home, so I’ll definitely benefit from these tips

    0
  • Violet

    Tuesday, August 10th, 2010 16:13

    30

    Thank you so much for the tips! I like how you said “Unless you for some reason work better when you have the TV or radio on, you should just turn it off before you start working.” I am one of those eccentric designers that CANNOT work unless there is music or, preferably, TV going on in the background. Silence or just the clicking of the mouse/keyboard just makes me too anxious and nervous. =)

    0
  • Shirley

    Tuesday, May 4th, 2010 14:38

    29

    LOL @Charles

    And I want a studio manager like Joe’s!

    Thank you Hilde, for the great post. Right now I’m stuck when it comes to work station – I live in a broom closet size room but hope to have a nice desk soon :)

    0
  • TechThem

    Monday, April 26th, 2010 01:30

    28

    Yes, these tips are so true, and i agree with all of them :) Working from home is not easy because you distract in seconds for like hours..

    0
  • Mahmud Ahsan

    Sunday, April 25th, 2010 08:52

    25

    Definitely awesome tips. Now a days, keep open twitter, facebook page makes lots of distraction. I also changed status of my IM to @Work when I work, so that unless very important people couldn’t contact me.

    0
    • Hilde

      Sunday, April 25th, 2010 23:46

      26

      Thanks Mahmud :)
      Great tips from you aswell!

      0
  • Husien Adel

    Saturday, April 24th, 2010 01:27

    24

    very nice article :D i will do all the point above esp i am working as freelancer :D

    thanks my dear ;)

    0
    • Hilde

      Sunday, April 25th, 2010 23:46

      27

      Thanks Husien! :)
      And the best of luck to you!

      0
  • designfollow

    Saturday, April 24th, 2010 00:18

    23

    Excellent tips.

    The problem is that everyone knows and can not be applied.

    0
  • lush

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 17:07

    22

    another one, stay away from your bed!!
    never put your desk in front of it!
    :)

    0
  • Charles

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 22:09

    21

    This article is great because it distracts me from my work.

    0
  • joe

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 14:44

    19

    It all comes down to self-discipline. I have the radio on all day. My dog (studio manager) is in and out of the studio all day as well. There are times that my wife and 2 daughters are all home at the same time and pop in for visits. There’s no need to deprive yourself of things because of your lack of discipline. There are a couple tips here that I totally agree with, others, well they sound good in theory, but for the most part, it all comes back to you. If you don’t have the focus to work at home, you really shouldn’t be doing it. Set up a structure all you want, if you don’t have focus… nothing will work.

    0
  • cooljaz124

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 12:29

    17

    What if my gf calls ??? hehe

    Nice article.

    0
  • Johnson Koh

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 11:58

    16

    Interesting topic to touch on and congrats Dainis! This site is getting more and more informative!

    0
  • Cook

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 17:48

    15

    grt tips……..thx for sharing

    0
  • Itinerarist

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 10:40

    14

    I work at home and parents wife friends kids treat me like a person that doesn’t work, they never understand I am busy they think I am available anytime to help them as I don’t have a boss watching me.

    0
    • jeprie

      Friday, April 23rd, 2010 15:25

      20

      Yeah. I understand that.

      0
  • Gregor Colnik

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 16:29

    13

    great advices :)

    0
  • Hilde

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 09:35

    10

    Happy you enjoyed!
    Thank you :)

    0
  • Antoine Guedes

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 08:03

    7

    I do work at home from time to time and I have no problems.
    When I started it was a bit difficult because I had to explain to my girlfriend I need to be focused, but she understood well.
    As you said on your article the best thing is talking with people.

    Oh! And by the way, I work with a cat at home. It’s cute and more funny.

    Good article, really!

    0
    • Hilde

      Friday, April 23rd, 2010 09:34

      8

      Thanks for your feedback Antoine! :D
      Yes I agree, cats do rock ;)

      0
  • Tom Dringer

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 11:59

    6

    Excellent article. Any way to stop kids from disturbing your work?!

    0
  • dario-g

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 10:53

    5

    Yeah… Did you see paradox? I should unsubscribe all rss channels, including this one. Thanks to that I will have more time for my projects :)

    Anyway, good article. :)

    0
  • providenz

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 09:43

    4

    I know all that, but I can’t manage to follow these advices! I’m reading this blog instead of working…

    0
    • aykut

      Friday, April 23rd, 2010 19:16

      18

      :) That’s exactly who I am. I think no solution for that. I am just lazy.

      0
  • Lars

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 01:37

    3

    Some very good tips. I’ve worked from home before both as a freelancer and contract jobs and it is extremely easy to get distracted or take longer breaks for food, tv watching, relaxation or random stuff when you get stuck on a task.

    It’s definitely important to have a clear to-do list and set out goals for each day and be clear about what you want to achieve every day. If you set tasks for the entire week without breaking it down to a daily to-do list it’s easy to end up procrastinating more and leaving the bulk of the work to the end of the week.

    Using a GTD (get things done) approach and breaking larger tasks into smaller achievable tasks will also create an improved sense of progress and motivate you to continue ticking things off your list.

    0
    • Hilde

      Friday, April 23rd, 2010 09:38

      12

      Hi Lars!
      Thank you so much for your good feedback. Definitely agree with you! :)
      Breaking the tasks into daily goals helps to keep the pace. It isnt healthy for anyone to be left with “all the work” on Friday etc. Very good point.
      Thanks for commenting! :)

      0
  • Jack

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 03:51

    2

    It is very difficult to work without being disturbed, even at offices. Imagine at home, when you have kids and other relatives.

    0
    • Hilde

      Friday, April 23rd, 2010 09:35

      9

      Hi Jack :)
      Yeah, you’re right. It’s challenging but definitely manageable :)

      0
  • Geld lenen

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010 01:43

    1

    Great tips, this is something that i’m going to use…

    0
    • Hilde

      Friday, April 23rd, 2010 09:36

      11

      Thank you so much :)
      Very happy to hear that you found it useful.

      0

Comments are closed.

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