Arghhh. One of the
biggest problems for us home-based business types is the relentless stream
of things that disrupt our train of thought.
Unexpected phone calls, children that need attention, the dog needs
to go out, the cat needs to come in, the sink is leaking, the car needs to
go to the shop… it never ends!
It is extremely frustrating to be in the middle of an important
letter or proposal, deep in thought, only to have Aunt Bertha call to tell
you about her bunions. What
to do? Aunt Bertha’s
bunions are important! (To
her.) Some interruptions can
be eliminated, some can be controlled, and some,
well…………………… sorry, FedEx just got here and needed a
signature… where was I? Oh
yes; …and there are some interruptions you’ve just got to live with.
Let’s start with
interruptions that can be eliminated:
phone calls. Turning
the phone completely off is always an option… let the answering machine
get it. That’s not always
practical, though; we do want to talk to our customers, don’t we?
Well, I have two words for you:
is a wonderful service provided by the phone company for a small monthly
fee that, when the phone rings, displays information about the caller on a
little gizmo that you can get at Radio Shack for under $20.
(And, there’s no interruption for installation:
they do it from their office!)
Bingo! Now you know
who’s calling before you answer the phone and you can make an
intelligent decision whether or not to answer it.
If it’s Aunt Bertha, let the machine get it and call her back
later when it’s convenient for you.
You now have power over the phone, and it is good.
The interruption has been reduced to looking to see who it is.
interruptions can be controlled. For
example, you need a plumber to fix the sink and have a friend that wants
to see your hydrangeas. Schedule
them both for the same afternoon, i.e., group things into specific time
slots if possible and then plan activities for that time that are not
sensitive to interruptions. Another
schedule them for the time of day that is your best “thinking” time.
For example, I am at my best in the morning so, when I have a
choice, I avoid scheduling things in the morning.
That way, the interruptions don’t disturb me when I’m at my
best. Are kids or spouses
walking in and asking you mundane questions that could have waited?
Have a signal that means “DO NOT BOTHER ME UNLESS SOMETHING IS
BURNING OR BLEEDING”. It
could be as simple as closing your office door.
Or, you could turn on a specific light or lamp that would mean the
same thing. How about a “Do
Not Disturb” door hanger similar to those in a hotel?
Make it a strict rule and enforce it:
they will get the idea. Eventually.
We have just
scratched the surface, but this beast can be tamed with a little thought
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