Driven to Distraction

By Amanda Smyth Connor


I work from home, as I suspect you do. My choice of fashion is pajama bottoms until 10am (or later) as I suspect yours is. I like the WFH lifestyle, as I suspect you do, otherwise, why would we have opted for a freelance lifestyle over a 9-5 desk job? Aside from the amazing salary and luxury vacations of course…

The downside of working from home is the series of distractions I deal with every day. While I’m not a parent and I do live in a quiet neighborhood (with the exception of my neighbor, Lucy, who NEEDS TO LEARN TO PARK ON HER OWN SIDE OF THE STREET,)  I still find myself battling an onslaught of daily distractions that keep me from banging out all of the writing projects I’ve got piled up.

Call me a little A.D.D., but when the phone rings, I have to answer. I can’t just let it go to voicemail. When an email comes in, I have to read it and answer promptly, because it’s the “professional thing to do.” I also have to check Facebook and Twitter compulsively because I do social media (at least this is what I tell myself. Why yes, I *would* like to play Farmville for a few minutes! Squee!)

Two hours later and suddenly it’s noon. I’m still in pajama bottoms, I haven’t written one professional word and I’m pretty sure that smell is me. No worries, I’ll just start typing reallyreally fast to make up for lost time! HaHA! Problem solved! And then I proofread my work and realize that either I’ve become illiterate or this method of time saving is crap.

My only plan of action is to create an extremely boring environment for myself. Think: No Facebook, no Twitter, no open windows other than my client’s site and my documents. No cell phone in the room with me. No TV, maybe the radio but only if it’s quiet. Without this sanitized environment, I’m a hyperactive kid in a candy store and I have to battle with myself every day to “sit down! Pay attention! Do your work!” I sound like my mother when I was 8.

How do you battle the daily distractions? What distracts you the most? Any tips out there for fellow “adult-children” like myself?