Tips for Working at Home With the TV On

It’s easy enough to get distracted on your own when working from home. Add in the family watching TV in the background, and it can be a real trial! It doesn’t have to mean the end of your productivity, though. There are plenty of ways to help you work with the TV in the background so you and your family both get what you want.

Make Your Own Space

Create a space for you to consistently work in. If your brain associates a particular place and setup with you working, it will be easier to not be pulled in by the distraction of the TV.  

  • Install a Desk Even though it might not be your main office space, it will help if you have some sort of desk in the room where your family watches TV. There are tons of options available these days!
  • Corner desks are an easy fit for many rooms, taking up only a small section and not dominating the space. They come in every color and design possible, so you can be sure to find one that will still fit the theme of your room.
  • Wall-mounted desks are becoming more popular all the time, too. With these, your desktop items are on the shelves so they don’t take up floor space, and you don’t need to keep a chair there when you aren’t working. Some of these even fold up into themselves, effectively erasing evidence that it is a work area at all when you are not actively using them.
  • Use Comfortable Seating The last thing you want to do when you’re already being bombarded with distractions outside of your workspace is to have an uncomfortable seat in it. It’s important that you use a chair that will not cause you pain or discomfort. The wrong seating will not only cause you to be distracted but is also very damaging to your body in the long run. Investing in ergonomic seating that will not hurt your neck and/or back is important. Tons of options are out there to fit every space and situation. Find the one that’s best for you and get comfortable in it!
  • Face the Other Direction If at all possible, make your workspace somewhere in the room where you are behind or beside the TV so that you are facing the same direction as the screen. This way, you can’t see the action on it. This has the added benefit for those doing the double-duty of childcare and work of allowing you to keep an eye on your family.
  • Use a Partition Partitions are a wonderful way to break up space when you have to stay in the same room but don’t need to see what’s going on in it. A visual block is a great help for minimizing distractions, and partitions make it very easy to create a work bubble within a bigger space. You aren’t limited by a lack of options, either, as you might have been in the past. There are now countless dividers available with designs for every style, many at very reasonable prices. Most of the options can even be folded up or otherwise put away so that they don’t take up space when they are not in use.

Treat It Like Office Work

  • Dress for Work Your workspace can’t be the only thing taking your work seriously. Although it is tempting to stay in your pajamas all day when working from home, getting dressed in professional clothes will help you keep your mindset of a productive nature. Surrender your sweats for the time you must work and let your professional attire set the tone. The more focused you are, the more efficiently you can work, and the sooner you can get back into your comfy clothes!
  • Don’t Allow Disruptions Set clear boundaries with your family members about interrupting you while you are working. It will be tempting for them to feel like they can speak to you or interact with you whenever they desire since you will be in the same room. It can be difficult as a parent, too, to not want to enjoy time with your family when they are so close, but you cannot give into those urges if you want to get your work done. Make it clear from the beginning that you can only be interrupted for emergencies and that they can speak with you when you have a break.
  • Cancel Out Noise Trying to work with noise in the background – especially from something engaging like a television show – can be really hard. If it isn’t necessary for you to hear what is going on in the room, noise cancelling headphones are a terrific investment. Not only do they keep distracting noises out, they also are great for your hearing since by eliminating unnecessary sounds they play only what you need to hear at levels that are comfortable and undamaging to the ear. There are many affordable models available for every situation.
  • Schedule Breaks Scheduling breaks ahead of time helps you to keep focused on the work in front of you when the antics on the screen or your family’s reactions to them might try to steal your attention. By knowing you have a specific time ahead when you will get to relax and maybe even join them for some TV time, you can devote more attention to the task at hand. This also helps your family if you share with them when your break times will be. That way, if they have something they need to speak with you about or would like to show you, they know they will have the opportunity to do so when you are on your break and will be less likely to interrupt your work flow.

Use Productivity Apps

When distractions like television are ongoing, it is especially essential to use any tool you can to help you stay on task. There are hundreds of helpful productivity apps available now – many of them free – that can integrate with your phone, computer, and other pieces of technology to help you keep organized and on task.

Although each app is different, productivity apps generally cater to helping you become more productive with your time, with many of them focusing on particular aspects of productivity you might need help with such as time tracking and distraction minimization. An app that focuses on time management might help you keep track of your work time and scheduled breaks, for example. Ones that help you stay focused might deflect distractions from your smart phone that can get in the way of work.

Create a Rewards System

It’s tough to stay on task when your family is having fun around you! Create a rewards system to encourage you to make it through without giving into the temptation of TV. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate or expensive. It can be as simple as a healthy snack when you’ve finished your work, maybe even one you can enjoy while watching some TV with your family.

It can be difficult working from home, especially if you have your family around. There are many ways to make it easier and better for everyone involved, though. Check out the rest of our website for great tips for working from home like these one hour hacks. You’ll be glad you did!