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If you’re like most people, working remotely usually means working from your kitchen table surrounded by distractions. When others are also home, this can get a bit frustrating and result in a less productive workday. Whether you’re just working from home for the time being or your home is your new permanent office, it’s essential to know the best ways to eliminate family interruptions during your workday.
Eliminate family interruptions when working from home by having a set work schedule with a strict daily routine. Communicate your schedule and break times with your family, so they know when to contact you. Wearing headphones or listening to music will also minimize distractions.
There are several tips to eliminating family interruptions when working from home. Read on to learn which tips will work best for you.
Do Interruptions Lower My Quality of Work?
While working from home has many perks (like saving money on gas and sleeping in), there are also cons for many people, especially those who live with others. Interruptions can be irritating and affect your overall work performance.
Every time a person is interrupted, their quality of work reduces significantly because once you get into the workflow, it’s challenging to get back into it after being interrupted. When you have many interruptions throughout your day, it can be impossible to work.
What Is Workflow?
Flow is a mental state in which a person is focused entirely on a specific task. It’s often also referred to as “being in the zone.” Interrupting this flow can significantly decrease the quality of work, especially for people with jobs that consist of writing or other creative aspects.
Therefore, working from home, especially around family, can be difficult if you’re interrupted during your workflow multiple times a day. However, there are many steps you can take to try to prevent interruptions. I’ll talk about some tips below.
Create and Stick to a Set Work Schedule
The beauty of working from home (depending on the job, of course) is that you can set your own schedule, to an extent. However, many people take “setting your own work schedule” as “working when I feel like it.” For some, this may work, but people with families will most likely benefit from a more scheduled workday, especially people with younger children or animals.
Having a set work schedule for the days you work will not only be beneficial to you but to your family as well. For most of your workday, working from home can feel like you’re not working because your environment is your home and not an office, making it difficult to concentrate on your work.
Therefore, you and your family may have the mindset that you’re not working, which can make you more distracted, and cause others to distract you more often and create an unproductive workday.
A set work schedule will show you’re working at the same time every day for a certain amount of time. The nature of your job will most likely determine your work schedule, but most people will have a Monday through Friday work schedule.
Share This Schedule With Your Family
Once you have your schedule figured out, it’s essential to share it with your family. While people who work at an office don’t usually need to do this, your family needs to realize that you’re still working even though you’re working from home.
You might want to tell your family what your schedule is, if only to create a schedule that everyone can live with. Try setting up a calendar in an area that the family usually gathers around and include your work times on the calendar.
If you’re looking for a calendar to write schedules on, check out a few of our recommended calendar solutions for freelancers. There you will find both physical calendar options, as well as digital calendar solutions.
Having some kind of physical calendar that is easy and quick to maintain, will allow you to display your work schedule to your family without having to say a word! Think about that.
Set Up a Home Office
One of the best ways to improve your overall production and reduce any interruptions while working from home is to set up a home office. While this isn’t a possibility for some people, depending on their living situation, there are several ways you can set up a home office to increase productivity and eliminate interruptions.
Choose an Area That Can Be Closed Off
The best office will be an actual room where you can close any doors that lead to the rest of the house. A closed-door can signify that the person behind the door is busy and shouldn’t get distracted.
Therefore, it’s less inviting to others who may interrupt your workday.
However, you may want to keep the door open during times when you’re not working and available. Therefore, when you shut your door, it becomes a sure sign that you are working and don’t want to be interrupted.
Don’t Work in Your Bedroom
Some people may have to use their bedroom as an office, but this isn’t ideal. While it might be a room with a door, working in an area that you use to relax and de-stress can cause more stress and less productivity.
In fact, many researchers have found that having an office or work area that isn’t in your bedroom not only makes you more productive but it helps improve sleep. Likewise, keeping work away from your bedroom helps strengthen the mental association between your bedroom and sleep.
Ensure Your Area Consists of Only Your Work
Don’t choose an area in your home that has the children’s toys or a significant other’s belongings in it. For example, making sure your work area has only your work belongings ensures that no one will come into your space to grab something and possibly distract you.
Create and Stick to a Strict Daily Routine
Like a set schedule, having a strict daily routine will indicate that you’re busy during your working hours. After a while of doing this routine, your family members will also begin to realize that they shouldn’t interrupt you during your “office hours.”
A strict daily routine might consist of waking up, eating or making breakfast for the family, and starting work at the same time every day. A routine such as this will make the family realize when the best time to contact you should be because they’ll be used to your routine.
What Should My Daily Routine Be?
Everyone’s daily routine will look a little different because we all lead different lives with various responsibilities. However, there should be specific aspects of your everyday life that parallels everyone else’s, such as sleeping and eating.
A daily routine should include getting an adequate amount of sleep, eating healthy meals, and spending time exercising, no matter how you do it. While these are the essential aspects of a daily routine, spending time meditating or doing other mentally relieving activities is also necessary.
Most people have a daily routine, healthy or not. But the best daily routine should include adding activities that improve your quality of life, such as exercising, meditating, and getting enough sleep. Unfortunately, it’s easy to stray from a healthy daily routine when you’re working from home.
Regardless of your routine, being consistent is essential to creating a stress-free and interruption-free environment when you live with your family.
Wear Headphones or Play Music
Many people need to wear headphones while working to stay focused and get their work done. Some require noise-canceling headphones, while others excel when listening to their favorite songs. However, wearing headphones is also a great way to show others that you’re busy and don’t want to be interrupted.
One study even found that around 42% of people listen to some sort of media while working, with 94% of that being music.
Many researchers have discovered that music positively affects overall work quality, depending on the music. Therefore, if you need to block out the noises of your family member while working from home, you can find the right kind of music that keeps you on task and focused.
Provide Children With Distractions
Having children around the house and trying to get your work done can seem impossible, especially if you don’t have another adult around to help you out. However, children need direction as they can get bored easily, so it’s a good idea to give them something to keep them busy when you need to get your work done.
You can do a few things to prevent children from interrupting you when you’re working from home. The tasks you give them will depend on the child, their age, and their interests.
Educational or Other Types Of Television Programs
There are many educational television shows for children that parents everywhere depend on to keep their children busy. Of course, the age of your children will depend on what show you put on for them, but a quick look at any streaming service, such as Netflix or Hulu, will show many different shows for children.
Creating and Learning Activities
Children enjoy a majority of different activities, such as coloring, painting, or even learning workbooks. Find a variety of different books that your children enjoy so they can stay busy while you work.
Ask Someone for Help
Whether you have a significant other to help with the children or a friend who is willing to watch them for a while, asking another adult for help will guarantee you some time to get work done without interruptions from your children.
If you have any older children, you could also communicate with them about how important it is that you don’t get interrupted at work, and they could watch any younger children while you work, if they are willing to do so. You may want to offer a small payment as an incentive for them to help you.
Take the Children to Daycare
While working from home might make most people think that they can save money on childcare costs, if you’re constantly being interrupted at home, taking any children you have to daycare might be a good option.
Finding a daycare or even a reliable babysitter during your workdays is a good idea if you don’t have anyone else at home to entertain the kids.
Set Up and Stick to Break Times
Like a typical workday, you’ll need specific times to take a break throughout the day, such as a lunchtime, for example. Often, when we work from home, we don’t think about break times because technically, you can take a break whenever you want to. However, if you have a set schedule and daily routine, you’re going to want to add times to take breaks into it.
Once you know when your break times will be, share this information with your family members. That way, they’ll know not to interrupt you throughout your workday because they can talk to you during your break times.
Doing this will help tremendously with interruptions, and it will also help with your work quality and boost work performance.
Good Ways To Take Breaks When Working From Home
If you’re working from home, you might not be able to find a relaxing place to take a break from the stress of work since your home is technically your office. However, there are many ways you can destress throughout the day during your breaks that can help improve work productivity and ease your busy mind.
Go for a Walk
Sometimes just going outside (weather permitting) and getting a breath of fresh air can help when you’re feeling stressed or stuck on a work project. Walking is excellent for your overall health because it’s a perfect form of exercise and works as a stress reliever. Therefore, it’s a popular activity during work breaks.
Make a Healthy Snack
Most people will take breaks from work to eat lunch. However, if you work from home, it’s easy to just grab a bag of chips to snack on throughout the day, even though it’s not the healthiest option. So, it’s essential to still choose healthy options, even when working from home.
Taking a break from work to make a healthy snack for you and your family is a great option.
Stretch Throughout the Day
Stretching is another excellent way to de-stress during breaks from work, and has been shown as an effective way to prevent and alleviate stress from work or everyday life. Therefore, taking a break and doing a quick stretching routine or a short meditation is a great way to relax.
Doing any of these ideas as a break with your family members is a great way to spend extra time and tend to any needs they may have during the workday, which will hopefully decrease how often they interrupt you when you’re working.
Deal With Needy Pets
For some people, pets can also be a cause for interruptions when you’re working from home. Most of the time, animals will just lay around and mind their business. However, if you have a puppy or kitten, it will be very demanding and require a lot of attention. If you’re struggling to get any work done because of your pets, try these tips.
Crate Your Animals
Unless your animals are constantly getting up to no good, most people don’t crate their dogs when they’re home. However, if they’re under your feet a lot or begging for attention, crating them might be a good idea, at least for a little while.
Many dogs are trained to go to their crate, and they actually think of it as their safe space or private area.Therefore, you could keep the crate in the same room with you as long as they’re not too interruptive.
When it comes to cats, most of the time, they’ll leave their owners alone. However, if your cat is bothering you, try to keep it in a room away from the area you’re working. Or, you could set up a small foot stool near your area where your cat could be on, especially if it needs to be near you.
Pet Play Date Or Doggie Daycare
As with children, many people take their animals to a “daycare” of sorts during the day, which is especially popular for people who don’t want to crate their dogs but can’t leave them alone for a long time.
Doing this will allow your animals to get the attention they need during the day while you work. If you have dogs, you could also consider hiring someone to walk them during the day, which should tire them out when they get home.
Communicate With Your Family
Communicating the importance of your work to your family is essential. Most of the time, they’ll understand and won’t interrupt you. However, if you have young kids, it might be more difficult. Nevertheless, you can still explain that you need alone time to work, and as they get older, it’ll be easier to work without any interruptions from your children.
Don’t Give Your Family Mixed Signals
While you might stress the importance of being left alone so you can work, it’s also essential that you stick to what you say. For example, if you’re doing housework during the day when it’s not your break time, and you’re supposed to be working, that might make your family think you’re available to talk.
Sticking to your schedule and only working during your designated work hours lets others know you’re serious, and they’ll be less likely to bother you.
Avoid Online Distractions
Online distractions are one of the biggest problems people have when trying to work, both from home and in an office. Since most people today have their phones on them at all times, it’s easy to get distracted every time you get a notification.
Family might not interrupt you in person, but it would be easy for them to send you a message, leading to more distractions like checking your email or messaging another person.
Therefore, to have the most productive and interruption-free work environment at home, it’s essential to make sure your phone isn’t near you, or on silent. You need to make sure that your personal email isn’t open, and you don’t have a television on.
How Do Cell Phones Affect Productivity?
In many ways, people may believe cell phones can help increase productivity because, with some jobs, you can work from your cell phone by answering emails, making phone calls, or scheduling appointments. However, cell phones can make you less productive for many reasons.
Cell phones decrease productivity when working because the frequent notifications create a distracting and interruptive environment. These notifications can be from messages and other apps commonly on phones, such as social media.
Having your cell phone near you while you work can mess up your workflow and make it hard to focus on your work again, which can result in poor work quality. So, if your family or friends are interrupting you by sending a message to your phone, removing your phone from your workspace is ideal.
Go to Another Location
Sometimes family can just become too disruptive. When that happens, finding a peaceful place outside of the home is a good idea if that’s something you can do. Some work from home jobs might require more equipment than others, such as multiple monitors or computers. However, if you only need a laptop to work, finding a place outside the house might make you more productive.
Go to a Local Coffee Shop
Coffee shops or cafes are popular choices when it comes to remote workers. Not only do they serve coffee, which makes for great working fuel, but the atmosphere of a coffee shop makes it easy to concentrate on work, and you get free wifi. Therefore, you become more productive.
Coffee shops that offer outdoor seating are also a plus because they’re outside in the fresh air. The pleasant scenery can make for great concentration, especially if the coffee shop isn’t in a busy area. Most of the time, coffee shops will let people stay as long as they want, as long as you buy a coffee first, of course.
Go to a Park
Parks are another great option when you’re trying to find somewhere to work instead of your house. Many parks will have benches or picnic tables to work on, but this will only work when weather permits and if you have your own wifi.
Several parks offer public wifi throughout the United States. However, if the park near you doesn’t and you need wifi to work, choosing a different public area might be a better option for you.
Go to a Library
Libraries are known for being a quiet place to read, study, or work at, and they offer free wifi, access to computers, books, and even librarians if you happen to need any information.
A library is ideal for many people because, unlike a busy coffee shop, it is always quiet, and there isn’t as much foot traffic going in and out. Therefore, you can put headphones in if you want to listen to music as you work, and you won’t be interrupted by anyone.
Find a Coworking Space
Coworking spaces began in the United States in 2005, when Brad Neuberg decided he liked the freedom working for himself offered, but he also longed for the structure and community of working with others. Therefore, coworking became a popular option for freelancers and people who work from home.
Coworking helps people who may experience feelings of isolation when working from home or traveling alone and is a great way to eliminate distractions while working.
However, most coworking spaces won’t be free; you’ll be charged a membership due most of the time. Depending on your circumstances, such as if you cannot work from home due to the number of distractions, or you lack the proper space to have an office at home, finding a coworking space will most likely be the best option for you.
Working from home has become more popular, and many companies are now allowing their employees the option of staying home. While this might seem very appealing at first, it can be frustrating to be constantly interrupted if you have family also at home.
Therefore, having a set schedule and daily routine, finding a room that works as an office, and dealing with other distractions will help eliminate any family interruptions during your workday. Sometimes finding a place outside your house to work will be the better option.