How to Effectively Handle Interruptions So You Stay on Task

Staying on task can be a challenge when you work from home. The children are fighting, your partner wants you to take out the trash, and the dog is making circles around the front door needing to be walked. But, you’re on a deadline and have work to finish.

How do you deal with the constant interruptions when have a home office? Here are lots of tips to help you.

* Have an isolated space for your office if at all possible. A room that you can go inside, put the “do not disturb” note on the door knob, and shut the door. Not everyone is this lucky. And even if you are, there are likely still things fighting for your attention.

* Put dinner in the crock pot so you don’t have to give it another thought for hours.

* Let your family know your schedule and stick to it as much as possible. If you’re going to work for two hours after dinner, then tell them you’ll be ready to play a game or read a bedtime story at 8:00. Then stick with your promise.

* Assign tasks to your children. Let them help with the chores around the house. It will teach them responsibility and give you a tiny bit of extra time. When they go off to college they’ll already know how to do their own laundry.

* Don’t multitask. Trying to keep two or three projects going in your head will keep you from doing well on any of them. Do one thing at a time and give it your full focus.

* Set two times during the day when you check email. Answer or delete and then move on. Unsubscribe from any lists that don’t offer real value.

* Check your Facebook once a day and set a time limit on how long you’ll be there.

* If you’re working on a project that doesn’t require research on the internet, then disconnect or shut your browser.

* Work for a set period of time, then get up and walk around. Sitting for long hours in your chair isn’t good for you and you’ll feel exhausted. Plus, you’ll have backache at the end of the day. Getting movement into your day will give you more energy and help you think clearer when you are working.

* Turn off your cell phone. Check messages when you’re on break. Schedule phone or Skype meetings. Other than appointment times, don’t answer the phone.

* Keep a bottle of water and a few healthy snacks nearby so you don’t have to keep running to the kitchen.

* Save tasks like laundry until your work day is over. Don’t try to multitask business and household chores. You’ll end up doing a terrible job at both.

* Play music to cut out background noise from the garbage truck or the neighbor’s barking dog. Find out what kind of music works for you. Some want the energy from rock and others prefer classical.

* When there’s too much going on at your house, you may need to take a break and go to a local coffee shop or library. People will still be around, but they won’t be asking anything of you.

* Have a ritual that gets you in the mood for work. Your mind will know that when you turn on the jazz music, light a candle, and sit down at your desk, it’s work time. This helps get you into the groove quicker than if you wait for inspiration.

The secret is to find what works for you. Do what you need to do to ensure you can focus completely on work until your present task is done.

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