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work from home + get your stuff done?


Owning our own businesses and working from home is awesome, but there are times when working from home can make it tough to stay focused and motivated—distractions abound, right?  Do you have any methods or practices that help you stay focused, grounded and undistracted?

Jen-LeeProtecting my work and rest spaces from clutter is key for me. The only things I keep on my work surface are a tiny jar of pens and a stand with note-sized paper, and I keep my bed neatly made. Maybe the kitchen sink is full of dishes, or there’s noise in the living room, but knowing I have a little island (or two) of quiet—and it could be the size of a small table, a bed, or a whole room—gives me a place where I know I can sit down, pull out a notebook and work or rest whenever I’m ready.

Jen Lee is the director of Indie Kindred, a new documentary about creative collaboration.

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Kathryn-ClarkHaving my studio in a dedicated space on a separate floor in my house is a real luxury that allows me to completely escape. And my studio is only my studio, with no other functions.  No one is going in just to hang out or distract me (or mess it up!).  I banned my computer from the room to keep the technology distractions at bay.  Of course, now with phones and iPads it’s easy to give in but it’s good that I have a weak wireless connection!  I know what time of day I am most productive—between 9 and 1—and I adjust my day accordingly and eat a late lunch and put our dog in the crate during that time.

Kathryn Clark is a full time artist and conceptual quilter living in San Francisco.

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TingleWorking from home and having two teenagers under our roof makes it really difficult to stay on task most days. I try to complete the bulk of my work during school hours because I know when 3 o’clock hits it will be hard to get anything done—the barrage of boys who typically show up after school makes concentration nearly impossible!

List making is my best defense against distraction. I find when I have a physical list to check off, I am much more productive and the act of X-ing off an item keeps me motivated.  I make a list each evening before going to bed of what needs to be done the next day and then spend the day making those satisfying little x marks and trying to ignore the dishwasher and the piles of dirty laundry until late afternoon.  As the boys have gotten older, I’ve asked them to be responsible for a lot more around the house and that’s been really helpful, too.

Amy Tingle is the co-founder of Food for the Soul Train , a mobile creativity company based in Nutley, NJ.

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Do you have a story to share about your best practices for working at home and staying focused and on task? Please share your stories here in the comments or on the Mabel Facebook page.

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AND please submit questions that you’d like to see the Mabel Community answer  in this Making a Living • Creating a Life column to:   info@mabelmag.com, subject line: Mabel Community Question

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