Trouble Focusing? How To Avoid Distractions as a Freelancer

Do you have trouble focusing on your work because you constantly get distracted by various factors?

As a result, everything you work on takes much longer than you planned.

Trouble Focusing? How To Avoid Distractions as a Freelancer

A lot of freelancers face the problem of not paying enough attention at work and having trouble focusing.

This is frustrating.

It makes you miss out on getting more work done in less time which ultimately earns you less money.

You’re not alone!

A lot of freelancers face the problem of not paying enough attention at work and having trouble focusing.

Let’s have a look at the reasons behind it to better understand why it’s sometimes so hard for us to focus on our work.

Why Do I Have Trouble Focusing?

As freelancers, the nature of our job is to spend a lot of time on the Internet and our phones. We have many different things to do like:

  • Creating content (may it be a piece of text or a video)
  • Doing research for the next article, blog post, etc.
  • Creating websites & logos
  • Networking with potential clients and other freelancers
  • Maintaining our social media accounts
  • Analyzing our competition
  • Doing admin and finance tasks
  • & much more

While doing one of those tasks, it’s easy to get distracted and drawn into the endless tons of information that are on the web.

We click from one article to the other, jump from one video to the next, and check out profile after profile on social media.

Before you know it, you have lost track of time and wasted 30 minutes.

Most likely you haven’t achieved anything while crawling through the web, besides feeling terrible to have lost so much time.

Not only is it the internet that makes it hard for us to focus. If you work from home, you may be interrupted by family members, pets, roommates, or a friend calling you to ask if you want to go out for lunch (because you work from home and you are your own boss anyway, right?! That’s what your friend thinks).

How can we break those bad habits and learn how to focus and become more productive?

Good news!

There are great ways to avoid distractions as a freelancer if you’re having trouble focusing.

Can’t Focus at Work? Avoid Distractions Using the Following Strategies

1. Set Up a Time Management Plan

Make a plan to set your work hours and your breaks. Decide on what time you want to start in the morning and what time you want to finish at night (or in the afternoon).

You need to have a structured routine, just like you would if you went to the office working for an employer.

Get up at the same time every morning and stick to your routine.

This will help you a lot if you have trouble focusing. With a plan in place, you’re organized and less likely to lose focus.

2. Set Boundaries

First of all, set boundaries and tell everyone (who needs to know), what days and times you work.

That way, people know that you are not available during those times.

Remember that friend I mentioned earlier? If you don’t set boundaries, people think they can contact you at any time and you will get distracted by them.

Not only should you set boundaries for others, but also for yourself.

Only because you’re a freelancer and you work from home, that doesn’t mean you can wander off and start cleaning your house or do the food shopping, just because you want to avoid the crowds.

If you’re having trouble focusing, you need to be disciplined and stick to your routine.

3. Create a Productive Work Environment

If you find it hard to pay attention, you might want to take a look at your workspace.

Are you sitting in a tiny spot at home, being surrounded by stuff that has nothing to do with your work? Is your chair uncomfortable, and do you constantly get up and adjust your position?

Set yourself up in a proper work environment with all the things you need which make it easy for you to perform your work.

Keep your workplace clean and tidy so you can focus on the important topics.

4. Turn Off Notifications

If possible, put your phone on flight mode or at least turn off the notifications so you’re not being disturbed by incoming messages or phone calls.

That way, you can fully focus on your work without checking your phone as soon as a message comes in.

Most of the time, we don’t just check on messages or e-mails, we would then also ‘quickly’ check our social media accounts to not miss anything.

5. Take Regular Breaks

Take regular breaks (mid-morning, lunch, and afternoon) away from your computer and your phone. Go for a walk and get some fresh air, or do some stretches.

This will help your mind process what you have worked on and having a break will make room for some new ideas. When you return to your desk, you feel refreshed and you can concentrate better.

6. Listen to Music

It’s easier to focus on work when you listen to some music and forget everything else around you. If you have noise-canceling headphones, that’s even better.

When using YouTube, be sure to not get drawn in to watch the videos.

However, I found that some of the playlists can go for hours without an ad disturbing you.

Otherwise, you can consider using a paid music provider or you can listen to music you already have on your devices.

7. Make a To-Do List

A good way to avoid distractions as a freelancer is to create a to-do list or schedule for the day and the week.

Write down all the tasks that need to be done, and incorporate this into your time management plan.

By doing this, you can fully focus on one task at a time without having to think about the next task while performing your work.

Set specific times for certain tasks. You might want to do the difficult tasks in the morning when you’re refreshed and everybody else has left the house.

You know best what time a day you can get work done, so plan accordingly. Don’t start something that requires your entire focus half an hour before your family comes home as you will most likely have to put that task aside being only half-finished.

Make sure to set realistic goals for the week.

If you don’t, you will get frustrated and your mind will wander off to things that don’t benefit you in getting your work done.

8. Learn How To Deal With Distractions

No matter how hard you try to follow these tips, there comes a time when you get distracted, and you need to learn how to deal with that situation.

Don’t get too upset! Thanks to following the strategies above, you have avoided most of the distractions and become more productive.

You already focus on what you can control, so let the things happen that you can’t control.

If you’re interrupted by someone, what you can do is tell that person to hold on for a short moment, so you can write down a few notes on where you have left off with your work and what needs to be done when you come back to it.

If that’s not possible, make a quick mental note to remind yourself of the task you were working on.

Final Thoughts on Trouble Focusing

Hopefully, these strategies will help you overcome your trouble focusing at work.

Avoiding distractions as a freelancer and being persistent is the key to success. You’re your own boss and you are responsible for what you do with your time.

Time is money – so get rid of distractions and focus on your work!

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