5 Tricks To Crack Down On Work Interruptions

October 23, 2015 | By | 4 Replies More

boy trick or treating

Fending off interruptions as you work from home can seem like an endless battle. Here are some tips to try before tossing in the towel.



Work interruptions are one of the most frustrating aspects of remote work. No matter how many Quiet! signs you post around the house, or how often you tell people you’re working, some folks think nothing of disrupting you while you’re trying to work. What can you do, short of screaming bloody murder?


How about trying out some of these less frightening tricks?



Look right through people

Have you noticed how quickly a conversation dies out when someone appears not to be listening? This trick is easy to perform with the help of some earplugs. When someone approaches you, give them a blank stare while pointing at your ears. In no time at all, they will know that when you’re working, talking to you is futile.


Wearing ear plugs also allows those around you to go about their routines without having to worry about being shushed or asked to leave the room. It’s a win-win!



Become a ghost

Set specific times when you answer the phone each day, and refuse to answer any other time. You could record a message that informs callers you are unavailable between the hours of, say, 9:30am and 3:30pm. Inform them if the matter is urgent, they can email you.


If someone calls just to “shoot the breeze”, they probably won’t bother to leave a message or email you. If a situation is important, the caller can leave a message or email you, knowing you will get back to them soon.



Related: Getting Work Done With Kids On School Break




You can’t expect people to take your need to work seriously if they see you posting comments on Facebook or Twitter during your stated work hours. Even if you’re just taking a coffee break, it leads people to believe you’re available or, worse yet, you weren’t really working at all. Do your best to avoid social media during the time you’ve set to work.



Create an indoor repository

If family members want to talk to you, have them write notes and drop them into a box placed just outside your work area. Post the time(s) you will check the box.


Chances are whatever they want isn’t important enough to bother writing it down. Or, by the time you read their note, what seemed so critical thirty minutes ago has lost its urgency.


Run for the hills!

Or the coffee shop, or library. You might wonder why you should have to leave the house if you’re supposed to be working from home. Getting out a few hours a week to a unique atmosphere will be good for you, I promise.


Libraries, in particular, are conducive to writing and other activities that call for lengthy periods of quiet. When you return to your home office, you will feel accomplished and refreshed.


Working from home isn’t always as sweet as it seems. It can be frustrating—sometimes infuriating—dealing with frequent interruptions by those around you. These tricks are just a few ways to help you protect your boundaries before you begin to feel like remote work is anything but a treat.



Your turn: How do you deal with work interruptions?



Are you interested in remote work, but don’t know where to look? Find work from home jobs with RemoteWork Source–Free!


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Category: Family Issues, Productivity, Telecommuting

About the Author ()

Pamela La Gioia is a resume writer and LinkedIn profile expert. She is also a pioneer in remote work, and has been researching and writing about remote work since the early 1990's. You can follow her on LinkedIn, for resume tips, LinkedIn insight, and general career help.

Comments (4)

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  1. Elfreda Weslow says:

    I am constantly browsing online for posts that can assist me. Thank you!

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