How to Manage Interruptions When Working From Home

Interruptions reduce your productivity when you work from home. Friends and family might not observe your wish to be left in peace so you can work. They imagine that not having a boss watching over you means you can stop working and chat. Also, there may be occasions when you are distracted by your environment. Regardless of the type of interruption, the result is the same: the sense that you didn’t accomplish enough at the end of the work day. Having strategies to deal with common work disturbances will help you to stay focused and increase the fruitfulness of your business.

Get a Routine Flowing

Develop a routine to follow each day, and you’ll be more productive. For instance, a morning routine can help to jumpstart your workday. You will daydream less and achieve more because you’ll know what to do next. At the same time, your motivation will increase, since indecision about what to do dampens your spirits. Know what you need to do, and when, and you won’t dither or surf the web indiscriminately.

Use Voicemail

People are often slaves to their phones; they allow them to steal their time. Many of the phone calls you receive while working will be from people you don’t want to talk to during work hours. Unless you’re expecting an important call, let voicemail collect messages. Sift through them at a convenient moment. You can always respond to calls you want to take.

Have an Exit Strategy

Do people drop by to visit you when you’re working at home? Unexpected visitors stop your flow as well as reducing productivity. However, you might feel you need to greet them. If so, plan what to tell them so you can escape back to work. For instance:

“Rachel, I have a deadline for a project. I can’t regularly see visitors during work hours these days, but it’s great to see you. I only have 15 minutes to enjoy your company though.”

People will soon get the message. They’ll consider making appointments with you, which means you see them at your convenience. Or they’ll only drop by after you finish work.

Stop Being Available

Are you sometimes too available? When you feel like taking time off rather than working, you might visit friends and family, or engage in long phone calls with them. Doing so creates the illusion you are always available. It also sends others the message you haven’t got a strong work ethic and are fair game whenever they want your company. Or it may give friends and colleagues the impression that you have time to take on tasks that they want to offload. Make sure that you stick to rules about how you spend time when you ought to be working. Or, shirk off if you must without mentioning doing so.

Limit Diversions

When you work from home, there are many opportunities for your attention to roam. Household chores and entertainment abound. Reduce the visibility of such distractions; create a boundary between them and your gaze. If possible, have your own workroom. Not feasible? Use a screen, or arrange furniture, so there’s an illusion of a separate workspace.

Being productive is challenging when you work from home, but you can avoid interruptions. Develop a routine, so you don’t engage in non-work related activities and know what to do next. Use voicemail, so you’re no longer at the beck-and-call of others. Create an exit strategy to help you manage friends and family who drop by unexpectedly. Also, stop being available during work hours and limit diversions. As a result, your productivity will soar.