How To Handle Distraction From Members Of Family And Friends While Working From Home?

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In my blog post “Working From Home And Self-Discipline” I had mentioned, that distraction from your family, friends and relatives, could come in your way of being self-disciplined.

When my clients transition from an employee to an entrepreneur, initially they find it challenging to set boundaries with the members of their family, friends and relatives.

I suggest the following step by step system that I personally use to handle such distractions.

1) In the morning, brain dump all the thoughts relating to your family, friends and relatives in a notebook or any device such as an Ipod or notepad in your computer.

2) Label each thought as I ( Thoughts relating to family members Inside home) OR O ( Thoughts relating to friends and relatives Outside home )

3) Number each of the Is and Os from highest to least importance. If there are 5 items in I category the one with highest importance will be numbered as 1 and the one with the least importance will be numbered as 5.

4) Ask yourself, the question-“If I do not do this task TODAY, will it hurt me or my family member/friend/relative? If the answer is YES, do it. If the answer is NO, just move this item to the next day OR if it is not necessary at all, just delete it completely.

Let me give you an example…

My list may consist of thoughts like..

1) Drop my children to School….I
2) Make a courtesy call to my friend who returned from a vacation….O
3) Organize my children’s closet…..I
4) Respond to a voicemail from a friend who needs help with an emergency situation….O
5) Prepare nutritious lunch for my family…..I
6) Respond to a request from my friend to hang out in a mall…..O

These are fuzzy thoughts occupying space in my brain, and distracting me from being productive while I am working from home. By writing down them down and labeling, I am crystal clear as to what is required from the members of my family at home and friends and relatives outside of my home. My fuzzy thoughts have now become clear action steps. Now I am going to prioritize them from highest to least importance:

All items under Category I
1) Drop my children to School.
2) Prepare nutritious lunch for my family.
3) Organize my children’s closet.

All items under Category O

1) Respond to a Voicemail from a friend who needs help with an emergency situation.
2) Make a courtesy call to my friend who returned from a vacation.
3) Respond to a request from my friend to hang out in a mall.

Now comes the question…

If I do not do this task TODAY, will it hurt me or my family member/friends/relatives?

For me the answer to items 1 and 2 under both the categories, I and O are YES. So I will fit them in the days schedule and move the item 3 to the next day for review.

You might wonder, if doing this exercise is really worth your time. Based upon my own experience, I recommend, you try it for at least a week and then once you get used to it, you will be able to priortize, without recording your random thoughts.You will not be guilty of avoiding your family, friends and relatives. You will have the satisfaction of working from home and nurturing the relationships with your family, friends and relatives.You will be more productive in your business too!

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  1. says

    I tend to “shoot from the hip” so to speak. I keep a running list of things to do in my head, in Outlook, on tiny slips of paper (not a reliable method by any means).

    My Outlook calendar is where I turn to for the most important issues that need taking care of – I even include family and/or bill paying (all sorts of things).

    I do like the way you suggest a person get it out of his/her head. Even though it is still there, it’s not “buzzing” and bothering you as much.

    I also know you’re a fanatic when it comes to this sort of thing (and I mean that with all goodness in mind), so listen up folks!
    Theresa recently posted…How to Get National Advertising On A Shoe String BudgetMy Profile

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