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Old 18th October 2006, 08:31 PM   #1
sannwood
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Default Distractions: Ringing Doorbells, Illness, Visits - HELP!

Whew. . .lately, it's just been one thing after another and the distractions just keep pouring in! Ringing telephones, visitors at the door, the dog is barking and, of course, the dreaded wintertime illness even got hold of me. . .and doesn't seem to want to let go either!

How do you guys and gals out there cope with seasonal "bugs", unannounced visitations and the numerous other distractions that come with the work-at-home territory?

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Old 18th October 2006, 11:00 PM   #2
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I just work in spurts... work... doorbell rings... work.... dogs need out... work... kids flood the kitchen... work... dogs need back in....

One way I do this is I set up my desk right in our living room. That way I'm right there in the action and don't need to run downstairs to let the dogs out or feed the kids or whatever. I just jump up, do what needs to be done, and plop back down at my desk.

When friends come over I'll stop and spend some time with them. If I'm right in the middle of something I'll just tell them and they are fine with it because they realize I work from home and there are times I just have to stop and do something. If they stay awhile and I need to get back to work I just remind them where the kitchen is and tell them to turn on the TV or play on the computer, etc. "Make yourself at home, I need to crank out some work."

As for seasonal bugs, I HATE that!! I'll freely admit I'm a big whimp when it comes to getting sick. To me it's terribly frustrating because it either slows you down or flat sends you to bed. I handle being sick rather poorly I'm afraid.

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Old 19th October 2006, 11:33 AM   #3
Corey Bryant
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If I am not expecting anyone or a package, I keep on working. If I am immensed in typing out a thread in one of these forums - I keep on working and I call back.

Mutli-tasking - yeah, it used to be fun but I decided concentrate on one thing at a time - otherwise I have typed what I said to someone on the phone in a message board and of course, the poster was like

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Old 19th October 2006, 12:36 PM   #4
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Fortunately I have no friends and no one ever wants to talk to me so no distractions. Just kidding, they happen all the time.

I think I'm like Robert, working in spurts throughout the day. Most people I know also know I'm working and tend not to call during the day or accept when I tell them I'm in the middle of something and need to call them back.

Part of why I enjoy working from home is that I can work when I want, which means it's ok to let some of the distractions keep me from something once in awhile. I might do my 8+ hours over the course of 12 hours or something like that.

The trick really is to be firm with people who interrupt you and let them know you're working. You don't always have to answer the phone or the door like Corey suggests. Most people will understand that you're working and let you call them back. If they don't you can always call them every few minutes wherever they work until they get the message.

Mostly though it's just the discipline to not let the interuptions keep you from what you're doing. Believe it or not I'll often work with the TV going. A distraction if ever there was one. I'm sure most people would have a hard time with it on, but for me it's become background noise over the years and doesn't keep me from working one bit. It only distracts me when I want it to distract me.

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Old 19th October 2006, 06:57 PM   #5
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Tracey works with me, and she will simply tell people 'he is in the office working'. After one or two times, they kinda get the message that turning up out of the blue is bad form, and it is better to call ahead. Often times I will break from work and have an early tea break or the likes.

If I am on the phone to a client then a bomb could go off and I would not let it interrupt the call! Doorbell shmoorbell

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Old 20th October 2006, 11:13 AM   #6
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There's a lot of power in the word "no."

Sometimes you simply have to NOT answer the door, the phone, or anyone else vying for your attention. Designate time that is just for work, time that is just for attending to "distractions" like returning miscellaneous phone calls, booking appointments, etc., and designate time that is of course NOT for working at all.

If you don't, you will go insane. Truly!

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Old 20th October 2006, 12:31 PM   #7
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Default Saying No

Thanks for the advice everyone. I really do need to become comfortable with using the word "No." I think, at times, everyone has a problem with that. I liked the previous post referring to getting an 8 hour workday accomplished in a 12 hour period. I guess that's currently what I am doing now, however, at the end of the day - I am feeling as if I haven't gotten anything done - even though I actually have accomplished quite a bit.

And one day I did ignore the doorbell when the grass cutter showed up. I actually felt guilty about it!

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Old 24th October 2006, 01:40 PM   #8
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Staci, it can be hard to say no sometimes or to ignore the phone or doorbell. It just takes some practice and the understanding that the person calling will leave a message if it's important.

I know the feeling too of working all day and not feeling like I got anything done. It happens, but not all the time. I think most of working at home requires a certain amount of discipline. And it's ok if that discipline doesn't come all at once. In time you'll get more into a working rhythm.

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