Working From Home: A Distraction or a Godsend?

By Patti Stafford | Writing

Mar 26

Is Working From Home Getting in the Way of Your Writing Career? This post could step on a few toes. No worries mate, I’ll be stepping on my own toes as well.

Working from home is great. You have all the extra time you need to keep the laundry done, run errands, cook, clean–all those things other people have to do when they get home from a job. It’s a great life. Or is it? Are these things eating into your work time? Wouldn’t you be more productive if you set working hours just like people with jobs outside the home? Doesn’t it make more sense to also set home hours to tend to those things you have to do around the home?

An ordinary “work from home” day can go like this: You start a load of laundry–you have the freedom to do this, it’s cool. You then sit down to start writing and before you know it the buzzer goes off and breaks your concentration. Do you keep writing or go tend to the laundry?

You decide losing a few minutes isn’t going to hurt anything so you go put the clothes in the dryer and get it started. Once you sit down to “work” again, it often takes another ten minutes to get back to the train of thought you were having before the buzzer sounded. Again, you finally get into your groove with writing and the buzzer sounds again. So, once again, you’re off to do the laundry. A typical load of laundry takes an hour and a half. In that hour and a half you’ve just lost a good 15 minutes of writing–that’s if you only tended to laundry while you were up.

The phone rings. It’s your best buddy from high school. Do you answer it or keep working? If you answer it you could be on the phone for an hour. Time spent on the phone is time you’re not spending writing.

You realize you forgot to grab a certain item while you did your weekly shopping. No problem, you have the freedom to run to the store and pick it up–after all–you work from home. Is it possible you could do without that item for awhile longer? Can the item wait until after working hours? That’s when other people go to the store or run errands.

Maybe your spouse or children forgot to tell you they needed something important from the store while you were shopping. But it’s okay, you work from home, it’s not a “real” job and you have all of this freedom to cater to their forgetful whims.

Or maybe they expect you to drop everything because it’s their day off? They didn’t plan ahead so you could clear your schedule, but they do expect you to drop everything at a moment’s notice and spend the day chasing garage sales.

Does any of this sound familiar? If you want to work from home it’s best to set normal, daily working hours and stick to them. If you need to run errands–set a day aside for that so it doesn’t eat into your work time.

Make sure your family and friends understand that you have working hours just like everyone else and you’d appreciate it if they’d abide by them.

If no one respects your working hours, understands that this is a career for you and you can’t take control of the situation–you may be better off getting a nine to fiver outside the home or decide that the writing life isn’t for you because you don’t have time.

Another consideration is all the things you need to update on a daily basic–blogs, journals, twitter, Facebook, Myspace–and other social networks. Do you spend time taking care of those things each morning before you start your work day?

Ben Spark added a great post covering these distractions earlier this week. Be sure to check out, Caution: Too Much Can Stunt You.

I’ve found in my own career, that if I get down to business first, the business goes more smoothly and I’m more productive. Social networking is important, but it can be scheduled for break time or even after work hours. Trust me, I’m the world’s worst about getting lost in Facebook land and losing precious time by goofing off too long. The simple solution is to check those things on your leisure time–not on your work time.

The harsh reality is until you take your own career seriously and start putting your foot down and avoiding distractions–no one else is going to take you serious either.

If you want a writing career, make it happen. If you want to play around like you have a writing career, that’s what you’ll get; a play along game that your friends and family don’t take any more serious than you do.

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About the Author

Patti runs several websites covering PLR/Niche Content, and strives to help others through life coaching and personal development.

Adrienne March 26, 2010

Yes, you have to be disciplined. You also need to know if you can handle the solitude.

Bart March 26, 2010

As a freelance writer I have worked both from home and from an office. I find that I am more productive at the office. The important part is to take your work serious. I don't really care if others think my job is real or not, the important part is that I believe it is. Somedays that is easier than others. Each person has different distractions and different ways to deal with them. Good luck.

Michael Kwan March 27, 2010

The two most challenging aspects to working from home happen to go hand in hand: discipline and motivation. Because you *can* take a break to watch some TV or do the laundry, the allure is always there. Flipping the coin, you *can* work at any hour in the day too, so you almost feel like you *should* be. Neither of these is a particularly good situation.

Since there is no supervisor hounding you, hovering over your back, you have to convince yourself to keep working (motivation) and stick to it despite these distractions (discipline).

file encrypt March 29, 2010

I have been working at home for last 12 years and I agree that it is almost impossible to work productively at home. Too many distractors: wife cleaning appartment with vacuum cleaner, childs wanting to play with dad..

The office is much much better..

Samantha Milner March 29, 2010

Hi guys,

I absolutely love working at home. But there are days when I take too many breaks and my day spins out of control. I just take a deep breath and prepare myself to work a little later then usual. But I must say that I would rather work at home instead of a traditional job.

Kind regards,



Herman dailybits March 30, 2010

As an SAP consultant in the traffic jams-country Belgium working from home is a real must for the days that we have +300km traffic jams (The industry-area of Belgium is only 50*50km big).

You will be distracted more at your home-office but in advantage you're doing more hours (that's my feeling).

Indian Art March 30, 2010

You need a office like area in home to work at home and not feel homely and laze around or be disturbed:P

Indian designer March 30, 2010

I guess the biggest distraction sometimes can be working alone. You are not working with people. Most of the time, you are under no one. Its about you all the time, and just this feeling of being your owner can let you relax more than you need

Interiordesigner March 30, 2010

Like everything else in life, working from home also has its pros and cons. But then, its benefits far outweighs the disadvantages associated with it.

Harsh Agarwal March 31, 2010

Recently I moved to a full fledge office from home but I still working from home.. That was much better in a way ….

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