Written by Lori Thiessen

Freedom is a curious gift. As java commuters, we have more freedom over how our day is structured, where we work, and what hours we work. If you are an independent, you don’t have a boss to tell you what to do. The flip side of this is that there is much less structure and with less structure there is a potential for more distractions to creep in. If you work from home, your sofa feels like it’s been upholstered in velcro. The tv sucks you in and holds you hostage. And if you have a roommate or spouse and/or children, well you might as well kiss your productivity goodbye.

Dedicated Workspace

In order to cut down on distractions, it is important to have a dedicated workspace. That is a place where almost nothing else but work happens. There are several ways to achieve this. The first is finding a space outside your home like a coffee shop to go to every day. Libraries are great spaces to work in. They are quiet. There are desks available and usually wifi is available plus it’s free! Can you borrow, or rent a room from a friend or family member to use as an office? For a while, I worked out of my car. I would pack up all my work stuff and drive to some nice locale and work for a few hours. It was awkward and less than ideal but it helped when I was being plagued with too many distractions at home.

Or if you prefer to work from home then be thoughtful and deliberate about setting up a home office. If you have a room you can turn into an office, great! If you don’t, perhaps you could invest in a computer armoire so when your work day is done, you can shut the doors of the armoire and not see all the work that still needs to be done.

If you can’t run to that expense, then even something as simple as an old curtain hung up to block off your workspace can help to define where your home office ends and your home begins.

But whichever venue you chose, make sure that you go there regularly and you have a mindset of doing work while you are there.

Some people who work from home offices advise that a short walk outside your house in the morning will put you into the productivity mindset. You may want to play with a number of different strategies to help you get into working mode. For instance, if you do have a very successful and productive day, take some time to reflect on the circumstances, actions and thoughts you had during this day that made it so successful. You may want to start keeping a small notebook on things you discover about your independent working style as well as good tips you hear from media, business colleagues, family or friends.

Years ago, the wags used to say that there were only 3 rules to running a successful business and it was location, location, location. The java commuter twist to this old adage is the 3 rules to being a successful java commuter is focus, focus, focus. Having a dedicated workspace will go a long way to helping you with that.

The important way to overcome either of these challenges, distractions or the sins of a sedentary life, is to create good boundaries both physical and mental, then try hard to maintain them.

Q: What kinds of strategies to you use to keep distractions at bay?

Thanks for stopping by and I’ll save your seat until next time!