self-employed

The curse of the bright shiny object

Squirrel! If you haven’t seen the Disney movie UP, you may not know what I am referring to, but today we are going to talk about the perils of working from home, specifically the bright shiny objects.

What am I talking about? I am referring to the things that most people do at home when they are not at work, like dye their hair, do the dishes, or take the dog for a walk. I’m sure there are people out there that are saying “you poor thing” sarcastically because … well … I get to work from home, but the curse of the bright shiny object is real.

Having OCD, I tend to get extremely focused on projects to where if I sit down and start a project, I won’t get up for 8 or 9 hours. That is not good for this ever-aging body! So I set alarms to get up and move around and stand at my standing desk. I will go downstairs and get a cup of coffee. That is where the curse strikes me. Bright shiny objects everywhere!

When I stayed home with my kids many moons ago, my husband used to tease me about my day. He could know exactly what I did during a day by the shrapnel trail of bright shiny objects (the broom, a coffee cup, my shoes, a cleaning cloth, food, dishes, etc.). All of these objects would be like crumbs left by Hansel & Gretel, leading him to my final resting place. Again, the curse of the bright shiny object. If you give a mouse a cookie! Lol

Fast forward to now. I work from home, I have to get enough hours in a day to justify this whole gig, and I need to ignore the “squirrel” moments of the day to accomplish that. Here are my suggestions for people like me who get lured by the bright shiny objects:

  1. Do take breaks, but only the 15-minute kind, not the two-hour kind to do dishes and laundry.
  2. Prepare for a bit of tunnel vision. Don’t feel guilty about the dirt surrounding you. Ignore it, it will still be there. It does not hold a schedule, your work day does.
  3. Take a lunch break and maybe do some of the housework you would regularly do on a lunch break, but regulate that time to only one hour.
  4. If the distractions get you, get back to work. Stay on course. If you insist, hurry up, you have work to do. You will feel guilty either way so choose work.
  5. Keep a strict schedule. Stay on task.
  6. When the clock strikes five bells, go do whatever you want, I’ll be in the kitchen, having a glass of wine.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, this is my conscience talking. I have to practice what I preach. My company is going great and I have wonderful people that are great clients. I’m 110% in to making sure they get the best of me and my work. The bright shiny objects be damned. We will conquer you, you feisty little distractions.

If you work from home and have a tendency to fall pray to the distraction, this blog is for you. Sometimes you just have to … “squirrel!” Now get back to work!

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