While working at home seems an ideal setup for those wishing to spend more time with family, the distractions that come with it are near limitless, so much so that one needs to muster enough discipline to get through each day. Here's a list of the most common home distractions to the average telecommuter and suggestions on how to avoid them:
Family and Home Obligations. Yes, you've chosen to enter a work-from-home career to spend more time with family, but now you find being around them a distraction that keeps you from working effectively. On top of family members clamoring for your attention, your home obligations, the household chores you keep ignoring, are nagging at your thoughts and conscience.
Solution: Keep to a schedule as much as possible. Limit family interactions during scheduled work hours, but make sure to give your all once tasks for the day are done. If your work allows it, schedule interactions with family–and maybe friends–during breaks and meal time. Make it a point to find out their needs and act on these on your free time.
Telephone Calls. The telephone is definitely an indispensable tool in home businesses and work-from-home gigs, but a majority of calls are nuisances that you just don't have time to deal with.
Solution: Setup your workstation in an area far from the telephone. Ask family to either hold your calls or tell callers that you aren't taking calls during certain periods of the day (yes, your scheduled work hours). If you must have a telephone in your work area, get a new line whose number you give out only to clients or employers.
Urge to Nod Off and Sleep. There's a reason why most offices don't have comfortable furniture: so you can fight off the urge to take naps that often lead to sleep. At home, however, you don't have such luxury, or rather, you have it–an abundance of it. The thought that the living room sofa is nearby and your bedroom is only a few steps away make for an effective distraction that's hard to ignore.
Solution: Discipline, plain and simple. If you can't discipline yourself to fight the urge to nod off in the middle of work, then expect a lot of unproductive days working at home. Of course, you have to help yourself combat this urge with other "tools." Coffee and other mood lifters are essential. Make it a habit to stretch your legs and stand up (only in your work area) once in a while to keep blood circulating.
Frequent Snack Runs. At the office it's the neighborhood convenience store. At home, the refrigerator and cupboards prove the more powerful distraction. The urge to munch on something–anything!–usually enters your thoughts when you feel sleepy. It's one of the most effective ways you know to keep yourself from nodding off. It is, however, keeping you from work.
Solution: Again it all boils down to schedules. Keep a small snackbox (filled with munchies, of course) near your work desk at home. Whenever you feel the urge to munch, grab a cracker and nibble on it while working. Oh, and don't take anything heavy like a sandwich. Eating heavy stuff not only takes time, it also triggers something in your brain that tells you to sleep.
Procrastination. Procrastination is probably the strongest and the worst of all work-at-home distractions. The enemy here is you. Because you are at home, in the place you're most comfortable in, procrastination is normal, but should be dealt with if you are to work effectively and efficiently.
Solution: There is no better cure for procrastination than discipline. Whenever you find yourself saying, "I'll do this later" or "the designs aren't due till next week," stop yourself by thinking, "If I finish this now, I'll have more time to do things I enjoy later."