Distractions When Working from Home: Where has all the time gone? What DID I actually DO today?

Whether you own your own business, work for someone else or don’t work at all right now, it seems like we always have so much to do, that we don’t get it all done. So how do you prioritize what to do in a day? If you are anything like me, you make a list of things to do in the morning (or the night before), and have all the best intentions of getting them done, only to get to the end of the day and seemingly having done nothing effectively.

Working from home using a Network Marketing model, you know that in most cases it is an easy business TO do, but also easy NOT to do. If you are not careful, you will find yourself easily distracted, and NOTHING accomplished by the end of the day.

See if this scenario is anything like you. Let’s say you start your day working from home at 9 am. You are feeling pretty good about today. You’ve got a long list of things you want to do, calls you want to make, personal development books to read, a Webinar to attend, a Blog post to write, emails to send. You think, okay, I’ll start with checking a few emails and then get going with my day. Then, wham! It’s noon, and you’ve been checking email, and Facebook, and other sites for 3 hours now and haven’t checked off a single item from your list of Things to do!

So after 3 non-productive hours, you get up out of your chair and walk to the kitchen to grab a snack or lunch. Along the way you walk past a dirty sock on the floor and realize you better put a load of laundry in. So you do that, but in your laundry room notice there are clean clothes there you need to put away. It’ll only take a minute. So you put them away and see that someone left something on the floor, so you pick it up, take a look at it, realize it’s only junk mail, so you go to throw it away.

Only, you see that it has some of your personal information on it, and you worry about identity theft, so you realize you better shred it. You go to the shredder and notice on the counter near the shredder, you have a credit card bill you have to pay. It’ll only take a couple minutes and you better pay it right now, right? So you won’t forget. So you either go online to pay it or write out a check and mail it. Next to the credit card bill is some other mail you haven’t looked at, so you go through that. It’ll only take a couple minutes. Then you turn around and your dog is standing right there waiting to go o-u-t-s-i-d-e. You have to take him out, because you don’t want him peeing in the house.

While you are out there, you see a neighbor, and being the good neighbor you are, you want to be friendly and at least chat for a couple minutes. The dog has done his “thing” so you take him back inside.  Hey look, the clothes in the washer are done. It will only take a minute to move the clothes to the dryer.  You put the clothes in the dryer, and while you are there, think, ‘well, as long as I am here, I might as well put another load of clothes in the wash. It will only take a couple minutes. And so after all that, you go back to your desk to make some calls and check off items on your business “To Do” list, and now realize it is 5:30pm; it is time to start getting ready for dinner. You don’t want to call prospects when they’re eating dinner. You’re hungry anyway. Might as well wait until tomorrow to get started on the list.

Does this scenario sound anything like you? It may seem extreme but is likely not far off the mark. Where did all the time go?

Here are a few tips to have a more productive day:
1. Find out where you are spending your time. Use a journal and document what you are doing every 15 or 30 minutes. At the end of the day you can look back and see where you were spending all of your time.
2. Create physical space in your home for your business
Dedicate space for your business only– office, spare bedroom, bonus room, etc
– Not your bedroom- that space is for resting. If you put your desk in there, then your mind cannot be completely at rest.
3. Use a calendar and SCHEDULE your network marketing business in specific time blocks. Put a big box around the times in your calendar that you will dedicate to business only
– Use this time for prospecting calls, presentations, and follow up calls
– You are not to use this time for dishes, laundry, tv, books (even personal development), EVEN IF these little side activities would take “just a couple minutes” to do. A couple minutes can easily turn into a couple hours.
– Do not use this time for email, Facebook, LinkedIn, other social media
– You are running a business, so treat it like a business. Call it Network Marketing, MLM, it is a business. If you were working at an office, you would not get caught up with the dog or laundry etc, right? So don’t do it at home either during work hours.
– Until this business becomes a habit, schedule it in with a calendar

4. Check email only twice per day. Tim Ferris, author of “The 4-Hour Work Week,” recommends checking at 12 and 4 pm, because these are the times that people will be most responsive to emails.

5. Choose your two most important tasks that you must get done, and focus on them first. You may have 18 things on your list, but pick the 2 most important things, and do them, without fail, preferably before 11 am. Then at the end of the day, you will know that even if you didn’t get most of the things done on your list, you at least got those two done.

Guard your time carefully. Look at the most successful people around you and throughout history. We all have the same 24 hours in a day that they do/did.   Effective time management is critical to your success.  Focus on the important activities without being distracted.

Please post a comment below. I’d love to hear about your experience with working from home. What works for you? What hasn’t worked?

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2 Responses to Distractions When Working from Home: Where has all the time gone? What DID I actually DO today?

  1. Robert Gardner February 27, 2015 at 1:35 pm #

    This is a great outline. I have been busy doing busy work instead of busy finding out what others needs and wants are. I’m back to the basics. Reading the Master Key book has taught me how to take control of my physical self.

  2. Sarah Bailey April 9, 2015 at 8:38 am #

    You are on the right track. Focus on meeting the needs of others, get back to the basics…you got it!

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