Monday, May 16, 2011

Working From Home: Minimizing Interruptions

I consider it a blessing that I have a job that allows me to work anywhere I want to. I do not take this for granted.


My preferred place of work is my very own home. This is where I feel most comfortable, undisturbed, and it saves me the most money.

However, I have established several disciplines in order to do my job efficiently. Working in a home office demands a different kind of work ethic and commitment because of the available distractions a household demands.

Here are five things that I intentionally do.

1. Create a clean, clutter-free workspace. I make sure that my desk is clear. I take out any objects, office supplies, reading materials that have nothing to do with my tasks for the day.  I also set the temperature of my room that makes me most comfortable.

2. Carefully schedule times of communication. This applies to e-mails, home phone, mobile phone, social networks, and instant messaging. I look through my e-mail inbox twice a day. I turn on my phones during breaks and in the evening. I appear 'visible' on my instant messaging only to important work contacts during the week day. I log in to Facebook only during my lunch break and after 5pm. I know this sounds extreme to some, but being intentional about this helps me stay focused on my tasks.

(Note: I have a private way of being reached by my husband any time of the day.)

3. Set specific times of being available to others. I love spending time with people I care about. I also appreciate moments that I get the chance to know new people better. However, I like going on about this with undivided attention. Therefore, I carefully manage my schedule  of being available for people outside of work hours. I like to be strict about this. When I receive an invitation to leave my home office when I know I have important work deadlines, I usually offer an alternate time.

4. Snack on food that keeps me energized throughout the day. My favorite energy-boosting snacks are yogurt, almonds, and walnuts. I used to eat a lot of starchy foods during my work hours and I always ended up feeling really lethargic.

5. Give importance to hydration. I always keep a glass of water beside me at all times. When water runs out, I immediately stand up and refill the glass -- a great excuse to stretch throughout the day. I have discovered that dehydration results in a headache, which is one of the biggest work interruptions out there.


I also feel that it is important to add that when interruptions do occur, it is best to handle the situation with a spirit of joy.  We can always aim to do our best in handling our time and that is great. However, if something comes up that is beyond our control, this is an opportunity to display an extraordinary amount of grace.

2 comments :

mrs muffinman said...

so true! i think people who want to "work at home" because they think it's easier or more lax have it all wrong...it takes much more discipline!!! i used to freelance and i really regret the times i had to cram like crazy because of distractions like tv or my bed =p your right about setting boundaries on time and distractions... basically think that if you were inside an actual office then you can't really do things like watch tv in the middle of work or wander around and raiding the fridge! :D

Samantha said...

Very well said Diane!