Last Updated January 9th, 2019

How To Defeat The Procrastination Monster When You Work At Home

How To Defeat The Procrastination Monster When You Work at Home

If you want to successfully work at home, there’s a monster you must defeat. No, not the cute monster you call your child, at least not every time you want to work. I’m talking about the procrastination monster that gobbles up your work time in such insidious ways.

Defeating the procrastination monster when you work at home isn’t easy. It has many disguises. Some are almost irresistible.

Discover the Monster’s Lair

First, you must figure out where your monster comes from. What makes you procrastinate? There are many possibilities when you work at home.

Other Adults

Other adults can be the worst when you’re trying to work at home. They don’t always understand that it’s the same as working outside the home. You have to teach them to respect your schedule and needs.

Children

Procrastination monsters love hanging around your children, and there’s only so much to be done at some ages about the procrastination children cause. You’re usually best off finding ways to work at times your kids are less likely to need your attention.

Social Media, Email, etc.

Procrastination monsters love your computer too, especially if you go to sites such as Facebook, Pinterest or anyplace where you can connect with friends or play games.

Whatever you do that leads to procrastination, do what you can to avoid it. You may not be able to entirely avoid the things that make you procrastinate. If you market on Facebook or Pinterest, for example, sometimes you will need to go on those sites, but need to find ways to keep your visits effective.

social media distraction

Think About Why You Want to Do What You Want to Do

It’s not enough to know what makes you procrastinate. You need to know why you want to work. What makes this important to you?

You work to earn money, for example, but that’s only the most obvious reason. Try to be more specific.

  • Why do you need to earn money?
  • Why this job or business?
  • What do you like about the work you do?
  • How badly does this need to get done?
  • What happens if things don’t get done?

Plan to Defeat the Monster

The procrastination monster has difficulty interfering with a well planned day. Set goals, know what tasks you need to get done, and what times you do your best work. Commit to getting them done and avoiding the things that make procrastination easier than working. Make your goals something you can reach in a reasonable time as well as longer range goals. Daily goals have as much a place in your plans as annual goals.

Many people find it helpful to write their goals down. There’s something about checking things off a list that can be very motivating.

monster

Get An Accountability Partner

Consider finding an accountability partner. It’s much harder for the procrastination monster to get you if you have a friend to help you keep on track. No one likes to say “I wasn’t productive today” to someone who really cares how well you did.

Your accountability partner doesn’t have to live with you. If you have an online friend who also works at home, you can motivate each other to be more productive.

You can have more than one accountability partner. In fact, if you have goals in different areas of your life, it can even make sense.

You might have one person who helps you keep accountable with your work life, for example, and another who encourages you to keep going to the gym or taking walks so you keep fit.

Close Extra Tabs And Programs

How many tabs do you really need open on your browser when you’re working?

It’s easy to have too many tabs open. Maybe you checked your email before working, and there’s something you’re watching for.

Don’t keep those extras open while you work. Whatever extra tabs or programs you have open when it’s time to start working, close them.

This especially includes anything that might distract you.

If you want to check your email or social media during your work hours, set a timer or alarm for when you will allow yourself to do so. Don’t just check these things on a whim – have a plan. They’ll interfere less with your productivity that way.

Get Rid Of Clutter

While your home office should be comfortable and decorated to please you, that doesn’t mean you can have all kinds of stuff all over your desk.

Get rid of the clutter!

Your home office desk should not be the place where you bring in the mail when it’s delivered. Your kids should not bring you the papers they need signed for school there. These will only make a mess of your desk and distract you from working.

Find a better place for these things and anything else that tends to clutter up your home office.

art clutter

Work Your Best Hours When Possible

I’ll say this straight out – I am NOT a morning person. I often see people say to get up early to have a productive work at home days, and that’s a huge no for me.

I just can’t do it.

Nights after most of the family has gone to bed, on the other hand, work great. My focus is better, even though I’ve also worked through much of the day. I often finish off blog posts at night.

I’d probably stay up later, but I do have to be functional enough in the morning to get the kids off to school.

Whatever hours work best for you, make sure you include them in your work routine as much as possible. There may be times when you can’t work your preferred hours, but do the best you can.

You’ll likely find it far easier to be productive this way.

Try to set up a regular work at home schedule. Not only does this give you a routine that can help your productivity, but it also gives your friends and family a schedule they can respect. The more seriously they see you taking your work, the more seriously they will take it.

Use The Pomodoro Technique

I’ve mentioned the Pomodoro Technique in other posts. It’s a solid method of time management that I think is well suited to working at home. It’s also helpful in ensuring that you remember to take breaks, which can actually increase productivity.

I like to use breaks to get a little housework done, exercise, or play a game.

If you haven’t tried this kind of time management technique, I strongly suggest doing so. Doing short bursts of more focused work can be highly effective.

computer snake

Keep The Kids Busy

As children are a major distraction, you need to plan ways to keep them busy. You can even combine this with the Pomodoro Technique and tell them that they can’t bother you until the timer goes off.

The difficulty of this depends on how old your kids are. Mine are all in school, so I have hours every school day that they aren’t home (unless one is sick, of course).

When they were younger, I had a variety of ways to keep them busy as I worked at home. They had places where they could play near me, and permission to interrupt as necessary.

Now that they’re older, I do most of my work when they’re at school, and continue it into the night.

I take a break during homework time as my youngest often still needs help, and it’s so hard to focus on writing when she’s coming up with questions every few minutes. This lasts until after dinner, even though her homework doesn’t take all that long.

Know Your Limits

How often do you try to do too much during the day? Have you ever noticed how discouraging it is to fail to reach your daily goals day after day?

Stop it!

Make a to do list for yourself each day, but keep it reasonable. Don’t expect more of yourself than you can really handle.

Start your to do list with the things you absolutely need to get done. You can add lower priorities for any extra time you have after finishing the things you really, really need to get done, but you don’t have to. Odds are you’ll find a way to use the time regardless.

Feel Free To Move Around

One of the great things about working at home is that you may have a lot of flexibility in where you do your work. So long as you don’t have to have a wired connection to the internet or the phone, and you don’t have privacy issues to consider, you may be able to switch where you work as you please.

Get out of your home office sometimes and work someplace else. This can be the coffee shop or coworking space, in the yard while the kids play, on the couch, or wherever suits you at the time.

Don’t let this change in scenery keep you from reaching your goals for the day. These places still need to be somewhere that you can work effectively.

Review Your Progress

Take a look at how you’re doing. Are you reaching your goals? Is the procrastination monster winning or losing? Some things are going to work for you. Some things aren’t. Looking at your progress can help you figure out what still needs to change.

Review your progress regularly. What works at one point may not work in the future for you.

Consider A Focus App

If you find you need more help defeating the procrastination monster, consider a focus app. There are quite a few available for different platforms. These can help keep you on track while you work.

computer monster

Remember That We All Struggle With Procrastination

You may feel as though you’re all alone in your struggles with the procrastination monster. You aren’t. We all struggle with it to some degree.

All those things I’ve listed as causes for procrastination? Yeah, they give me trouble too. Some days more than others.

There are times when I just can’t focus. Even when I know exactly what I want to get done, and truly mean to get it done, focus can be a problem.

It takes a ton of self control and practice to stop procrastinating, or even to minimize it. And some days will be worse than others.

Some people have it more difficult than others. If you’re struggling with ADHD as well as the usual challenges of working at home, you may want to consider if medication will help.

If It’s Just Not Working…

Some days, working at home just doesn’t work out. If your schedule permits, it can be best to just take those days off.

I have days where it’s next to impossible to get anything done. Things keep coming up.

If it’s bad enough, sometimes I give in and don’t even try to work the rest of that day.

It’s one of the things I love most about working for myself. I can decide which days I have off, which means I can take an unplanned one off, and make it up later if necessary. No fuss.

You don’t have to take the entire day off just because a part of it isn’t working out for you. A few hours doing something completely unrelated may be just what you need to regain your focus and get back to work.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated December 28th, 2010

Set a Goal of Not Procrastinating in the New Year

One of the biggest reasons people don’t do well with a home business is that it’s so easy to procrastinate. I know I procrastinate far more than I should, even when I’m looking at where I’d like my business to be. It’s just easier to do other things too much of the time.

The challenge is figuring out how to not procrastinate so much. That part takes some work.

Why Do You Procrastinate?

There are all kinds of reasons people procrastinate. Maybe you’re avoiding working on a part of your home business you don’t particularly enjoy working on. Maybe there’s something you’d rather do with the family. Maybe there’s a show you’d like to watch on television. Maybe you’re tired because it has already been a long, difficult day and you’d just like to head to bed a bit early tonight.

Whatever your reason, you need to recognize when you’re using it too much. There are times when it’s appropriate to do something other than work on your home business. Most of us like to have a life as well as a business, after all. It’s when you give in to excuses too often that you need to look at why you’re doing that to yourself, your business and your hopes for success.

How Do You Stop Procrastinating?

It’s hard to stop procrastinating. So often you feel as though you have a good reason to put off doing the work you know you should be doing. You may not feel bad about it until later, such as when you check your stats and realize you aren’t earning what you’d hoped to earn this month, and realize that you really didn’t work that hard.

You have to figure out what motivates you to keep working, even when it means you won’t get to do something else you’d like to work on. What is it you love about your home business? What attracted you to it in the first place?

If you were attracted by the idea that you can work entirely on your own schedule with a home business, for example, you’re probably quickly realizing that it takes more than taking a break whenever you feel like it to make a successful home business. It takes a lot of hard work, often more than you would be doing for a job. The short work week of the home business owner usually doesn’t come right away. It comes after serious hard work to build the base of the business. It may never come at all, depending on the kind of business you’re running and the success you have at it.

Compare what attracted you to your home business with what you now know you need to do in order to succeed with it. There are often many differences from what you expected at first. You need to put those parts together to work on the bad work habits you’ve built. Find something in there that will motivate you to keep working.

It may be as simple as making a chart of your goals and posting it near your work area, somewhere it can be seen clearly. Update your progress regularly.

A picture of something you’d like to buy when you earn enough may be a help as well. Get those dreams out where you can see them.

What I don’t recommend is focusing too much on what procrastination has cost you. That’s looking back and is too negative. It’s not a bad thing to be aware of it, but don’t focus on what might have been. Focus on what could be if you just work hard enough.

Don’t focus entirely on the wild dreams either. Just as with setting goals, your motivation to keep working should be something you can get within a reasonable time frame.

Figure Out Ways to Make Up Lost Time

Sometimes you can’t help but be interrupted as you work. That’s life. It happens.

That doesn’t mean you can’t plan for losing work time. You just have to figure out what to do about it so you don’t get too far behind.

It may mean planning to stay up late or get up early to get some more work time in. Do whichever is better for you.

It may mean working on the weekend when you were hoping for a break. It may mean skipping your favorite television shows because you’ve realized building your business is more important. That’s what DVRs are for anyhow, right? You may be able to take time later for them.

If you have kids, it may even mean paying someone to watch your kids for a time, or asking a family member to help you out for a bit. You can get a lot more work done in a short amount of time if the kids aren’t underfoot, as a general rule.

Never give up on yourself just because you tend to procrastinate. Find a way to motivate yourself to limit that habit and get things done any way you can. Your hard work should pay off eventually.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated November 16th, 2010

What’s Keeping You From Taking Action?

There are a lot of obstacles to earning money from home. You have to decide what you want to do. You have to find your way around the scams. It’s not easy.

But the biggest challenge most of us face is simply taking action. We spend far too much time thinking about what we could be doing and not enough time doing. Even those of us already working at home often do this too much. I know I do. There are so many things I could be doing, things that it would not be impossible to make the time to do. The hardest step is actually doing it.

Many things can get in your way. Simple procrastination is the most common problem. It’s easier to procrastinate than it is to get things done. That’s true in many aspects of life, not just trying to earn money from home.

Procrastination isn’t the only thing that can stop you. Fear can too. It’s not just fear of failure either. Sometimes people can fear the potential for success just as much. It sounds odd, but it can happen. You may not always be certain of what you’ll do if you fail miserably or if you succeed wildly. They’re both pretty intimidating at times.

You may also stop yourself because you’re so focused on learning just exactly how you’re going to succeed that you never stop learning to start working.

The desire to get everything just perfect can keep you from getting started too. You may want to look just right before you launch your home business, and fail to realize that it’s keeping you from having any business at all.

No matter what’s keeping you from taking action, the time comes when you have to realize that you must take action or you won’t get anywhere. All these things that you’re letting stop you are just obstacles.

You can set aside time for the things you most use to procrastinate.

You can decide to face your fears.

You can always keep learning.

You can always improve the look of your website.

Give yourself that push and just take action. Whether it works out or not, you’re trying. That’s the only way you’ll have any chance at all at success..

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated September 15th, 2010

How Much is Procrastination Costing You?

Most of us procrastinate, at least from time to time. It’s a habit that’s hard to avoid. When you do too much of it, however, it seriously limits your progress.

When the procrastination impacts your home business, there may be a more direct financial impact. Just think how much better your business could be doing if you just cut out the procrastination.

Try Scheduling

One way to avoid procrastinating is to create a schedule for working. Pick times that you’re going to work and plan what you’re going to work on. This bit of time invested can help you get more done.

There are different ways to schedule. Some like having a physical planner to look at. Having things written down on paper is just that much more motivating. That one drives me nuts. I don’t do so well with schedules on paper.

Put it on the computer and keep it more general, and I’m content. My schedules are more general, with tasks and/or priorities and I’ll deal with it. I think it’s mostly that a schedule on the computer feels easier to change when things aren’t working out. My daily life is generally not that amenable to a strict schedule. Three kids will do that to you, especially when they’re young.

Your schedule can help you to limit the time you spend on activities that are good in moderation but can easily become a time suck. Schedule an adequate time for things such as checking email, blog commenting and social networking, and don’t let the time you spend on these activities become excessive. You may need to schedule multiple times throughout the day for these depending on how you’re using each.

Have an Overall Plan

Having an overall plan is a help in general. I plan not only what is most important to me, but have options for those times I have a mental block in one area or another. It really helps when writer’s block is driving me nuts to work on something else… so long as I don’t overdo it and avoid writing tasks for too long.

With a plan you can think both short and long term. You can see if you’re making the progress you’d like. It can be motivating to see if you’re approaching the goals you set up in your plan, whether you’re way behind and know it, or see the end in sight. Just don’t make short term goals so challenging that they’re frustrating rather than motivating.

Know What Encourages Procrastination for You

There are probably some things in your life that make you more or less likely to procrastinate. If you can spot the troublemakers, you may be able to avoid or control them.

That said, sometimes procrastination is worth it when you have kids. Time with them is usually well spent, even if it puts you a bit off schedule, so long as it’s not going to destroy the income your family needs to get by. You do need to be realistic about your financial needs and that the kids will usually be just fine if you tell them you need to work. But adding in a late night or early morning so that you have time during the day for the kids isn’t always a bad thing.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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Disclosure: Home with the Kids is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. I also review or mention products for which I may receive compensation from other sources. All opinions are my own.