Whether you are self-employed or telecommute for a company, working from home can be a dream situation. You might set your own schedule, work at your own pace and possibly earn money in your PJs. Of course, people who work from home also deal with more distractions – like easy access to TV.
With a television set in close proximity, there’s temptation to catch up on daytime programs instead of focusing on work, which can put you behind schedule. Rather than let TV decrease your productivity and your paycheck, here are a few tips to help you stop watching TV when you work from home.
1. Remove the TV from your home office.
Putting a TV in your home office is one of the biggest mistakes you can make, especially if you’re somewhat of a TV addict.
Having a TV in this room can provide background noise or background action, helping you feel less isolated. But you’re asking for trouble with a TV only a few feet away.
Even if you hit the mute button, something might catch your eye. And before you know it, you’re reaching for the remote and work takes a backseat to the screen.
If you find that TV is too distracting, remove it from your home office. If you need sound in the background, get a soundscape machine or turn on a music station. It’s a win-win. You can work, but not feel so disconnected from the outside world.
2. Wear noise-canceling headphones while working.
The temptation to watch TV increases when family members or roommates are home during the day as you work. This might happen when children are home from school, if your spouse doesn’t work or if your spouse spends time at home during the day.
In this case, consider wearing noise-canceling headphones while you work. But don’t buy just any type of headphone. Get a quality headphone that’s capable of blocking a high percentage of ambient sound. This way, if you’re working in one room and someone has the TV on in the other room, the headphones can block out sound and distractions.
3. Switch it up and work outside of the house.
The point of working from home is that you don’t have to leave the house during the day. But if you find you’re spending too much time watching television, break up your routine and work from another place. This can be the library, a coffeehouse or even a bookstore with lounge areas. Just make sure you choose a place that’s quiet and doesn’t break your concentration. Avoid public places that have TVs. This could be just as distracting as working from home.
4. Hide the remote control from yourself.
If you prefer working at home, but find the TV too distracting, employ a little trickery to stay focused throughout the day.
If your spouse works outside the home, put the TV remote control in their workbag. Without the remote control in arm’s reach, you’re less likely to waste time watching programs. Even if you turn on the TV, you’ll quickly get tired of getting up to change the channel, which can motivate you to get back to work. You can also ask your spouse or someone else close to you to hide the remote from you, instead.
TV is a fun way to kick back and relax, but you shouldn’t let it distract you during dedicated work hours. If you’re tired of getting behind schedule and missing deadlines because of your daytime TV habits, be proactive and take a stand. Don’t let TV affect your bottom line.