Ok, so you’ve read and implemented our tips on avoiding interruptions, but your friends and family just refuse to leave you alone while you’re working from home. Now, it’s time to try our guerilla tips for shutting everyone up and out while you get your work done:
1. Keep working ~ I recall interrupting a reporter at the Los Angeles Times while he was hard at work on a story, undoubtedly rushing against a deadline. However, I needed his attention and could not wait, so I approached his desk fully expecting him to turn his attention to me. Not only did he call me a pest and quite pointedly tell me to scat, but he never stopped typing and never looked up from his keyboard. I persisted in speaking with him while he persisted in ignoring me. Ultimately, I did get him to look up for a second (and only a second!) to acknowledge my issue, but that was only because I had to (I had my own deadlines and needed his attention). However, most people are not as persistent and can take a strong hint like this to mean that your work from home job is your top priority during working hours.
2. Your speakerphone is your friend ~ In work at home jobs for moms, the telephone is sometimes a big part of our job description. If powering down isn’t an option for you, consider hands-free conversations as your next best option. If you have long-winded clients or personal acquaintances who tend to interrupt you by phone, simply place them on speakerphone whenever they call. Most people hate having conversations by speaker and will most likely be in a hurry to end a call once they discover that their conversation is being publicly broadcasted. (Doesn’t hurt to place the phone right next to your keyboard so that the caller can hear the sounds of you working and feel free to sound a little distracted when you speak just to emphasize the point. Hey, these are guerilla tactics, remember!)
3. Read the signs ~ Place a sign on your front door that lets visitors know that, “If you did not phone, I’m not at home” and remain engaged in your work from home job while ignoring drop-in guests during your business hours. Later, you can explain that you placed the sign on your front door in an attempt to avoid interruptions and distractions. Your visitor may be slightly offended, but they will understand that work at home jobs for moms are serious business and not to be taken lightly.
4. Relocate ~ If your spouse or children are too much of a distraction while you’re working from home, consider packing up and moving shop to your nearest coffee house (with a Wi-Fi connection, of course). Be sure to take a set of headphones with you to block the sounds of other customers, put some relaxing music on and enjoy a few hours of uninterrupted working bliss.
5. Use an egg timer ~ When callers or visitors interrupt, immediately reach for your egg timer. Set it for 5 minutes and kindly let your intruder know that you are doing so because you can only spare a few minutes for their issue. Be polite about this and then give them your full attention until the timer goes off. When the alarm sounds, be firm in telling them that you will have to continue this conversation after hours (this is also a good time to reiterate your working hours to them, so that they are clear about your schedule).
Work at home jobs for moms are no different than outside the home jobs. Just because you work from home, does not mean that you are there for everyone’s personal whims. Of course, you must take regular breaks and be available for your family if they truly need you, but for frivolous interruptions, these guerilla tips for avoiding interruptions and distractions can go a long way to keep them at a minimum.
If you have other tips to share, we’d love to hear about them in the comments section below.