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I’m probably the least qualified person to write this post since everything distracts me. However, when I truly want to make a few hours super productive (and I really can), this is what I do.

I work from home – not quite full time. Most of my time is spent writing, emailing, etc – so the amount of distractions I can handle and keep my train of thought are:


I can handle none because I am not that talented in multitasking.

So on days when I absolutely have to get things done completely, I do this:

  1. I listen to Coffitivity. This is an app/web site that plays background noise of people talking, dishes, coffee cups. Nothing decipherable. You may wonder how listening to noise helps someone who needs no noise uses this, but it provides almost a white noise that blocks out other things around me. Total silence is really hard to work in too.
  2. I do chores before I work. A load of laundry might take an hour to wash, so in it goes before I sit down. Dishes in the sink get cleaned, a quick vacuum, and I grab any toys/clothes on the floor to put away.
  3. Cleaning up my workspace is essential. If I leave papers, notes, even empty plates or cups where I am – it constantly catches my attention. I try to have just my planner and a coffee cup with my computer.
  4. Setting a timer helps me to keep track of how I’m using work and free minutes. It’s so, so easy to do a quick Facebook check and then realize that you’ve been on Buzzfeed for the past 30 minutes laughing at cat videos (obviously I have never done this).
  5. The biggest distraction for me is this: (1). Just seeing that little number on my email, Twitter, FB – it drives me crazy. I must check, I must know what happened that included me in it. Big mistake – see #4 for why.
  6. I get everyone settled before I start writing. The dog loves to be near me, so I drag his bed over with a bone to keep him from wandering the house. I feed the cats, change the water, and if my daughter happens to be home and work can’t wait, I make her a snack, grab blankets, and pop in a movie.
  7. Sometimes I have to leave. I work from home but that doesn’t mean I have to be at home. There are some days I know a package is coming and my dog will freak out, my house is too big of a disaster to tackle in 20 minutes, or something smells funny from breakfast and I simply can’t be there. I go to Starbucks or somewhere with the atmosphere of neutral noise.

These little things actually work, and they don’t take a lot of time to do. It’s falling down the rabbit hole that leads to immense frustration for me. My time alone to work is pretty minimal, so each distraction uses up time I’ve paid daycare or taken time from a weekend to work.

I’d love to know how you all minimize the clutter that can happen and make your work time more productive. 

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