How to Work From Home without Interruptions

When you first start working from home, many (not all) of your family and friends truly won’t get it. I understand that your family and friends might be just as Intelligent as mine, but trust me; you will have to explain to many of these Einsteins, that you are Actually Working. You will get phone calls with jokes about you still being in your pajamas and many will make comments like “Boy aren’t you lucky to be Working From Home! – Hint Hint.” This is usually code for “Boy aren’t you lucky to have the opportunity to goof off!” Again you have to tactfully help your family members and friends understand that you are actually: WORKING.

My advice:

1.  When you get a call, immediately check the Caller I.D. and yes I’m assuming
that you have this feature. If not, it’s a MUST for Virtual Workers. If it’s
someone you can’t offend (Mom) or can’t convince to please stop talking
(Mom), or someone you highly respect despite their faults (Mom), then simply
DON’T answer. Trust me on this, once people see that you simply will NOT be
disturbed (baring an emergency) it will start to sink in.

2.  When you are able to talk to the family member or friend who has constantly
called, they will be miffed. Simply say “I was working, I work from home now.”
Smile while you’re saying it. Trust me on this as well, the kindness will come
through in your voice. In addition to being kind the statement is also concise
and to the point. You don’t have to explain any further, to anyone, how you
make your living, which puts food in your mouth. Also, trying to provide lengthy
explanations will often times lead to an argument and hurt feelings on the part
of one of you.

3.  Set a definite lunch time, just as you would if you were in-office and stick to it.
Imagine that you have to return to relieve someone or that another worker is
waiting for you to get back to your computer so that they can go to lunch. This
may actually be the case, most often, even virtual workers are still relied upon
by in-office workers to provide back-up. Use your lunch hour to call family and
friends who have tried to interrupt. Tell them simply that you now have time for
lunch and wanted to see how they are doing or return their call. Set a timer and
when your time is up, politely say, “I have to get back to work”. If they won’t
hang up, you must show tough love, say: “If my client calls I need to be
available, you wouldn’t want to get me in trouble would you?” Put the onus on
your family member or friend to show how much they respect and love you.
This will work.

More Tips & Warnings:
Don’t be discouraged if you vary from the script a time or two and give a lengthy excuse, that may inevitable lead to an argument. Just get back on track. Trust me, being concise is the key to let most people know you are serious. Continuing to do so will train the intelligent mind that this is now how you make your living and it must be respected.
For those who simply don’t get it. Voice mail is KING!!!

When you do talk to them make sure to compare them to Einstein.
Nobody likes to be viewed as “Too slow to get the point.” So say: “I know you’re no Einstein, but when I say I’m working, I’m working.” End the statement with a laugh though.

Be brief, witty and kind. Smiling when speaking, keeping a routine
and letting voice mail and caller I.D. work for you, will allow you to Work From Home Without Interruptions.

By the way:  The reason I can joke about this so much is because my family members and friends have never disrespected my time. However, I know this can be a serious issue for some and I’ve heard the horror stories. That’s why I suggest having a good sense of humor while being firm is key. If you have additional tips, please feel free to post them in the comments section. Thanks!

This is Shilonda Downing signing off for: Virtual Work Team LLC!


2 thoughts on “How to Work From Home without Interruptions

  1. This article is so true. I must manage to let my family know that I am not available for certain hours of the day but for some reason they are having a hard time handling that concept. I have put into practice some of the articles suggestions – and they are working (for me anyway).

    1. Hey Barbara!

      I’m really happy that you’re already implementing some of these suggestions, it’s great to have you on the team member. And very rewarding to know that my suggestions could help you, just as you have been helping me!

      Shilonda Downing
      Virtual Work Team LLC

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