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Dealing With Work at Home Interruptions

Posted by Valencia on July 6th, 2009

Interruptions and distractions can slow you down…especially if you’re not in the mood to work. I don’t have children and my husband works outside the home. So, I’m normally able to work with limited distractions. But lately, it seems as if I’ve encountered more than the normal daily distractions. From doctor appointments being scheduled during my work hours to ongoing text messages (I just got my first smart phone and I absolutely love texting, so it’s hard to resist).

I only freelance a couple hours a day. Thus, getting slightly off track isn’t a huge tragedy. But at the same time, I have a schedule. I like to get up and complete my work early. And while I realize that distractions and interruptions are a part of life….I only wish they occurred when I’m less busy. But since this rarely happens, I’ve discovered a few ways to get through the distractions and remain on task.

Stop Stressing: My mother and sister used to poke fun at me and laugh at the way I handled distractions. And sometimes, they would purposely interrupt me during work just to see my response. Looking back…I don’t blame them.  I was an inflexible stickler. And once I entered my work zone, I didn’t want anyone to talk to me or look my way. But I’ve become relaxed. So what if I get distracted and delayed an hour or two….it’s not the end of the world.

Find a quiet space: We have a home office. But it’s located in the front of the house, and our desk sits next to a large window facing the street. During certain times of the day–especially in the summer–working in our office is a distraction in itself. Neighbors mowing their yards, washing their cars, and kids playing in the street. I spend more time looking outside than working. But that’s the beauty of having a laptop and wireless Internet…I can move to an area with less distractions.

Set boundaries: I’ve yet to master this technique…but I’m getting better. If someone calls or sends a text during the day…I can’t ignore and return the call later. I always pick up the phone. And before I know it…I’ve spent 45 or more minutes on the phone. It’s not a huge problem…yet. But if it ever becomes one, I know what I have to do. Put the phone on vibrate, screen the calls, and return them after work hours. If it’s an emergency…they’ll leave a message.


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Reader Comments

Your tips for dealing with distractions are cool. I’m a student, and I truly know how it feels to get really distracted! This scenario happens to me most of the time: I have a schedule painted out in my head and instead of following it to the letter, I get distracted with texting, Facebook, games, and eating. The end is that my work is half-done.

I managed to get less distracted by doing the following:

-Doing the task first before logging in to my favorite websites. I realized it’s doable.
-Writing out my schedule and then ticking out the list when I’m done.
-Taking a break after 15 or 30 minutes of studying (to eat, relax)
-Self-control

It also helps to work in a quiet place. The trick is focusing on your task.



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