Day 16 – Interruptions when working from home
Interruptions when wroking from home
Interruptions when working from home are very different from those the workplace. Interruptions are distracting, costly and annoying. On average, one person interrupting you can take 10 minutes away from your productivity. It may seem that the interruption is only for a few minutes, but by the time you have stopped what you are doing. Interrupted your thought process to understand what it is the person is asking of you. Answer the question correctly. Then go back and pick up your thought process takes about 10 minutes.
Not to mention your attitude to the interruptions. Suppose you are deeply engrossed in your task. In that case, it is difficult to tell your facial features to be pleasant, smile and be accommodating. (Resting Bitch face comes to mind). Then you must explain to the person who has interrupted you-you are deeply engrossed in a task. Once you have been interrupted, your mind then focuses some of its attention on the question or purpose of the original interruption. Now you have two trains of thought, your task at hand and that of the question asked of you. It’s called attention residue.
In an office, there are strategies you can put in place.
- Tell people you are unavailable during certain times of the day
- Only open emails at set times
- Create boundaries you and your colleagues’ respect
- Turn your phone off
Interruptions working from Home.
All brilliant strategies, but what if you are working from Home? How do you deal with those interruptions? With Covid-19, many of us have changed our working style and moved our office to the dining room table or the spare room. We have had to manage family commitments and our bosses’ constant demands.
The strategies we had for interruptions in the office are no longer valid at Home. It is difficult to tell your loved ones you are unavailable for a chat from 9 am to 5 pm. They can physically see you. Not only that, but they can also reach out their hands and touch you. To them, you are there, in person. As a result, able to be spoken to and answer the question. Interrupted, able to answer just one question, for example, what are we having for dinner. To your family and friends, being in lockdown means you are constantly accessible.
Interruptions when working from home
How have I coped with these interruptions? Not well to start with, a plan was needed to deal with interruptions. My home office, entitled ‘The Studio’, is the converted garage. Suddenly I am available with my family and friends who want to speak to me. When in the office, they respected my time and rarely called or popped in. When working from home, suddenly, the rules seem to have been thrown out of the window. So new rules had to be set in place.
The new rules are:
- Work starts at 9 am, and I will finish at 5-6 pm depending on the tasks at hand
- I will take a break in the morning at 10.30 for 15 minutes and will talk and discuss whatever is needed
- Lunch will be at 1 pm for 30 minutes, and again, I will chat and discuss whatever.
- I will take a break at 3.15 for 15 minutes
- Work will finish at 5-6 pm depending on the task
What I learnt about writing my memoirs
- I needed to set new boundaries when working from home
- Just because someone is at home, it doesn’t mean they are not working
- Another person’s break is not my break