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Minimising Domestic Distractions During Work Hours

By: Jennie Kermode - Updated: 14 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Work Hours Working Business Domestic

One of the problems with working from home is that you can never entirely get away from the pressures of your domestic environment - or the temptations. This can be even more difficult in a family business when, even if you strictly separate your workspace, you're likely to be sharing it with other people who share your domestic life. As well as developing good self-discipline, you'll need to make other people understand that your work hours are for work alone.

Don't Take It With You

The first step toward keeping domestic distractions out of your workspace is to avoid taking them in there with you. This doesn't just mean finishing your breakfast and dealing with urgent domestic tasks before you sit down to begin the working day - it means leaving domestic conversations and disputes behind, too.

Depending on the work you're doing, radios can be acceptable in the workplace - televisions less so - but only if they function as providers of background noise. Don't listen to programmes you'll get excited about or want to argue with, and don't listen to programmes you would normally enjoy at home. It's important to leave behind not only domestic items and behaviours but also,as far as possible, domestic thoughts. This will help to get you into the right mindset for work.

House Rules

When you work from home, everybody within your home needs to understand the importance of your work. Excepting the sort of emergencies where they'd call you if you were working for an employer elsewhere, they shouldn't be bothering you with domestic matters during your working day.

If other people in your household want to be helpful, it's quite reasonable for them to bring you cups of coffee and empty your rubbish bins whilst you work, but they'll need to understand that they shouldn't engage you in conversation, even if you break your own rules and start it. The times when your self-discipline wavers are the times when it's most important for your family to remind you that you need to apply yourself to work during working hours.

Cutting Out Calls

Even if you've successfully established an understanding about the separate nature of work hours within your home, it can be difficult to get this message across to other relatives and to friends. Personal phone calls can be a troublesome distraction when you're trying to concentrate on work, and visits can be even worse.

It's important to explain to callers that you simply cannot take time out for social communications during your work hours. They may take this badly at first, interpreting it as a personal rejection, so you'll need to be patient and consistent. Explain that just because you set your own hours doesn't mean you can keep changing them, nor does it mean that you can take time out in the middle of a project.

What you need to make clear to callers is that your business is no less serious because it's a family business or because it's based in your home. Point out that they would probably feel the need to object if you walked into their workplaces and expected to be able to have a chat.

Eyes On The Prize

If you sometimes find it difficult to concentrate on work when you know that domestic chores, and pleasures, are just a moment's walk away, focus on what you are working for. If it helps, think about the ways in which making money from your family business can be expected to improve your domestic life. Remind yourself that putting work first now means you're putting your family first in the big scheme of things.

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