11 Awesome tips to Work without Distraction

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! :)

Hilde Torbjornsen

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

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Comments

  1. Clod says

    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.

  2. Billy Miller says

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

    Anywho, thanks for the post and great list.

    Cheers! =)

  3. wushi says

    Great tips, thanks for sharing.

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

  4. says

    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. =)

  5. Shirley says

    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 :)

  6. TechThem says

    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..

  7. says

    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.

  8. Husien Adel says

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

    thanks my dear ;)

  9. joe says

    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.

  10. Itinerarist says

    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.

  11. Antoine Guedes says

    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!

  12. dario-g says

    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. :)

  13. Lars says

    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.

    • Hilde says

      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! :)

  14. says

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

    • Hilde says

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