Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 3.31.26 PMAsk any work-at-home professional or small business owner what her biggest hurdle is when it comes to tackling her to-do list and she’ll likely tell you it’s the constant distractions. The kids need attention. Email demands to be answered. The phone is ringing. The dog needs fresh water.

The list goes on. It’s no wonder she – and you – can’t get anything done.

So how do those “have it all” type entrepreneurs do it? They start by creating a distraction-free zone.  Here are some of our solutions for eliminating distractions for the WAHM.

A Place of Your Own

Plenty of entrepreneurs get their start working from the kitchen table, stealing a few minutes here or an hour there when the kids are napping or during lunch. But when the business begins to grow, it pretty quickly becomes clear that a laptop in the living room is not an efficient way to work. It’s time to find a real office.

That doesn’t mean you have to go rent space in a high-rise downtown, though. If you run your business from home and want to keep it that way, you just need to carve out a space you can call your own.

For some, a spare bedroom makes an ideal office space. For others, a corner of the basement or even a closet will do. The key is to create a place where, when you’re in it, you know you’re working. And perhaps more importantly, when you’re not in it, you can leave the work behind.

Virtual Distractions You Can Do Without

Of course, just having a nice quiet office with a door won’t eliminate all your distractions. There’s plenty of them right on your computer waiting to suck away all your work time.   Here are some of the coolest tools to help you manage your time online and eliminate distractions:

Leechblock -You can specify up to six sets of sites to block, with different times and days for each set. You can block sites within fixed time periods (e.g., between 9am and 5pm), after a time limit (e.g., 10 minutes in every hour), or with a combination of time periods and time limit (e.g., 10 minutes in every hour between 9am and 5pm). With the lockdown feature, you can block sites immediately for a specified duration. You can also set a password or random access code for LeechBlock’s options, just to slow you down in moments of weakness!

Free for Firefox

Concentrate The Mac software allows you to designate various activities (studying, writing, etc.) and then set your computer so that it will only allow certain actions during those times.

$29 – for Mac

Rescue Time – tracks your time spent on applications and websites, giving you an accurate picture of how you spend your day. It then gives you detailed reports and data, based on your activity.

Available for free, or $9 a month for the pro version, for Mac from rescuetime.com, and available for free for Android

Time Out – If you have trouble remembering to take breaks, try the Mac app Time Out, a tool that encourages you to get up and stop what you’re doing at regular intervals. Time Out reminds you to take a 10-minute break every 50 minutes, and a 10-second “micro-break” — a brief pause to take a deep breath, look away from your screen, and re-center yourself — every 10 minutes.

Free app for Mac

Digital Detox – This app could revolutionize your vacations — or even your weekends. Using Digital Detox, you can force your phone to shut down for a set period of time ranging from 30 minutes to one month (and no, the decision is not reversible). But the app comes with a disclaimer: Only those who are truly serious about unplugging need apply.

Free for Android

 

The important thing to remember here is that your environment is only the beginning. You need to work on building up your self-discipline as well, so you can say no to distractions and get the work done.  What is your favorite tool or method for eliminating distractions?

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5 Comments

  1. Great suggestions I try to keep social media to the ipad unless I’m doing a hop or scheduling. That way I’m more likely to focus on work or the task I’ve set myself

  2. I can’t wait to have my own space! I live in small apartment, hopefully when I move back to the states and buy a home I will definitely seek a house that has a room for my office. About distractions it’s so hard to deal with them, and these apps seems great.. Thanks for sharing July!

  3. I’m going to check out these apps. My favorite to recommend to clients for distractions is KeepMeOut.com which is similar to Leechblock. I know that when I’m experiencing “writers block” whether it’s creating a new blog post, writing a proposal, creating a new product – my “go to distraction” is Facebook. Blocking the site during my prime working hours is very helpful! Great suggestions!

  4. I love what you said at the end Julie – we need to work on our self-discipline first of all, it’s important! Once we practice it long enough, it becomes easier to stay focused on a specific task and eliminate the social media distractions.

  5. I know the problem, I often design the events planning at home and “urgent” distractions are always round the corner! Honestly I could not bare the idea of that digital detox (yes, I am utterly intoxicated!), bu the rescue time app sounds really interesting. thanks!

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