Work From Home Challenges: Procrastination & Distractions

I recently had a chat with my friends who are working from home, and they gave some insights: there are work-from-home challenges that everyone, most likely, can’t evade.

Personally, these are challenges that I, too, have encountered during this quarantine period.

See, in the later months of 2019 up to 2020, these years seem to be the unprecedented periods of the decade.

Many catastrophic events seemed to have lined themselves up and cropped up for humankind to endure. We are yet to recover, and now this COVID19 happened.

The crisis pushed many to the sidelines (oh! I mean inside our homes). But we are yet to push back because of the imminent threat to our healths. And we can’t do anything about that until there’s a vaccine.

See, in the later months of 2019 up to 2020, these years seem to be the unprecedented periods of the decade.

Many catastrophic events seemed to have lined themselves up and cropped up for humankind to endure. We are yet to recover, and now this COVID19 happened.

The crisis pushed many to the sidelines (oh! I mean inside our homes). But we are yet to push back because of the imminent threat to our healths. And we can’t do anything about that until there’s a vaccine.

The ongoing pandemic that results in lockdowns affected many companies. If not closing down and filing for bankruptcy, the event compels them to cut down the number of their workforce to avoid bleeding more money.

As a result, many lost their jobs. Some people quit of their own volition and had a career change, but unfortunately for some, their company forced them out.

The New Norm’s Working Preference

On the lighter side, many are fortunate enough that their companies allowed them to work from home.

Also, with this article, I want to address those who are working their businesses from home—the ones choosing a career change.

For employees or people venturing out to business, we’ll categorize them as working from home from here onwards.

Now, it’s an attractive proposition, right?

Why? — Because it invokes the vision of freedom!

  • Employees — No need to get up two or three hours earlier daily for prepping up and commuting to avoid the risk of being late; just follow the schedules given by the company.
    • Non-employees — You can choose your desired time.
  • Employees — No more prying eyes that were once making you feel uncomfortable in the office. However, even over the internet, a superior will still monitor your every move during working hours.
    • Non-employees — You are the boss.
  • Employees — Work from a set time up to whatever time you want to finish the work. But the guarantee you’ll get paid with your overtime might be slim.
    • Non-employees — Nobody will scold about how you spend your time; there is no need to be accountable for whether you’ve used it efficiently, or wasted it.

That’s just some perks.

Now, if there are perks for a work-from-home scenario, there will also be downsides. If you’re not careful, you’re likely to waste more time than usual.

Let me quote a phrase I heard when I was little, “We have all the luxury in the world, but time isn’t.”

Whether you’re a work from home employee, or a budding entrepreneur working out a business from home, there are challenges that you need to recognize and overcome to become more productive and not waste time in the longer run.

The work from home challenges and how to fight them off

Challenge 1: Procrastination

When we are in our domains, sometimes we think of ourselves as kings or queens. We could agree, there’s no place like home!

We feel relaxed and at ease, putting off the essential work later. Repeating it day in, day out, we develop the infamous mañana habit. It is procrastination at its best!

This habit is not exclusive to Filipinos. If truth be told, everybody has the tendencies to procrastinate given a chance.

When essential work needs an extra effort to finish, we might start feeling stressed about it.

Our brains, by instinct, are hardwired to protect us. Experts say it is an evolutionary survival mechanism.

The brain perceives hardships, dangerous scenarios, and health threats as stress factors.

What about extra mental efforts? That, too, is a stress factor that the brain considers, triggering it, then stirring us to the point of being lazy.

Yes, you’ve read that right. Apparently, that is why there are times we are more inclined to do mundane tasks rather than working on a difficult but more important one.

We, hardwired to laziness? It seems far-fetched. But don’t take my word for it.

Read the article about the research (Hardwired for Laziness) at The University of British Columbia website.

It’s hard for me to admit. But heck! Even I lost to this challenge that the last post I made was already a month ago.

See, whenever the brain feel stressed (that’s perceived as being threatened), it always helps us get our doses of the feel-good hormone dopamine. Hence, we eventually find ourselves binge-watching, scrolling to social media, or just playing mobile games for hours only to feel bad about it later.

Solution: Prioritize

Make yourself a To-Do-List. A list of tasks you will write tonight reserved for execution tomorrow. And you will do this every day.

Armed with the listed tasks, it would be best if you prioritize them. Arrange them according to their importance.

I know, I know. You heard or read the advice thousand of times already. But as you can see, it is common sense. And the problem lies with us — sometimes we forget.

There was this old saying — reminders are the best remedy for forgetfulness. I hope I translated it straight from Tagalog correctly. But you get the point, right?

Also, in conjunction, treat every eight hours of every single day (six days of each week) like how you manage your regular hours of the day at the office. That means every minor task, even the simple glance at your mobile phone, has to have its own time.

Notice how I said six days instead of seven.

If you prioritize your working days, you must include a prioritized day to rest too.

It is the day when you will recharge, free up your mind, and bond with your loved ones all day long.

Challenge 2: Distractions

As mentioned, working from home will make you feel comfortable than working conventionally at the office.

That is partially true.

Because this work-from-home challenge will surely irritate you, and you’re incapable of hiding from it.

As soon as you start the actual work, you realize that getting sidetracked or distracted from the task at hand is more workable than meditating for ten minutes (that is, if no eager kids are around to poke you while your eyes are closed).

Solution: Focus

Focusing like a lens to avert one of work from home challenges
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Easier said than done, so let’s clear the air first before diving into the matter

Other than the kids playing around the house, your partner nags about the dishes, or the neighbor turned his stereo on too loud; there are more factors why one has difficulty focusing.

We need to pinpoint the problem.

  • Could it be health issues? Or probably lifestyle-related?
  • Or just understandable household distractions.

If your suspect is the former, then you might find it interesting to read the Healthline’s article on What Makes you Unable to Concentrate. Use it as your guide.

But I hope that your difficulty in focusing is not too severe.

Now that we checked if there are any health issues, let’s then fix the other distractions.

If it’s household related, then this is the time your communication skills will come in handy.

Ask the kids, your spouse or partner, and everybody in the house to just leave you alone for a particular amount of time. Inform them to treat that time as your working hours.

As for the noisy neighbors, you don’t know them well as you know the people in your household. You don’t know what’s running inside their minds either. You can’t risk building up animosity. That means you can’t do much about them. Just live with it, I guess.

To add more insights into focusing, please read an excerpt from the book “Driven to Distraction at Work: How to Focus and Be More Productive” by Dr. Edward M. Hallowell, MD, through HERE.

You will learn the five crucial elements with techniques to help you develop habits. These habits will help you find consistent focus and eventually achieve your goals.

Concluding the work from home challenges post

There was a time that I, too, was skeptical of the advice above.

It seems too generic at first glance, but obviously, I missed their importance. So be careful because you might too.

Put everything in place with prioritization and unwavering focus. From planning to execution of the essential tasks at hand, soon enough, you will notice a significant increase in productivity.

And if executed correctly, you will have more free time than you might expect it.

In the long run, you will learn how to schedule your time for every aspect of your life effectively. It only means you can take or create more and finish more projects for a shorter period, with less stress.

Now that you have more time, you can now probably add some side projects. 😁 Read Why Starting a Blog is a Good Idea Before & After Pandemic and Why Starting a Home Business is Cuter than Kittens.

Did this article help you identify and create solutions for those works from home challenges? Let me know with your comments below.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *