WAHM Tips: How to stop interruptions when you work at home

How to stop interruptions when you work at home

How to stop interruptions when you work at home

Ask any WAHM {Work At Home Mum} to name their biggest annoyance and you’ll invariably get:

constant interruptions from family and friends who don’t understand what I’m trying to do.

Remember the last time you were right in the middle of being super productive on a new exciting project and a friend or relative pops round for a chat. 

Not only have you lost you focus, but your whole planned schedule for the day has gone. You don't want to be rude, but if you stop now, you'll only have to get back to it once the kids have gone to bed tonight. There goes another relaxing evening! 

They just didn't get it!

When I first started working from home, my family and friends just didn't get that I was doing my job. They seemed to think that because I was at home, I was available to them.

They would often pop round for a coffee without calling first and be rather peeved when they found me too busy.

Everything came to a head one afternoon when a friend arrived unannounced while I was on a call to a corporate client. 

They proceeded to ring the bell and bang on the door because they could see I was home. When I finally answered the door they accused me of being rude because I'd left them waiting on the doorstep.

A matter of perspective

If you're struggling with this challenge too and just don't feel like you can do anything, I have a suggestion that may help put things into perspective. 

Imagine that you worked in an office or shop, was a teacher or doctor or any other profession you can think of.

Now imagine your friends and family just turning up whenever they felt like for a chat and a cuppa. 

See where I'm going with this?

It just wouldn't happen, would it? They wouldn't dream of coming to your work place and disrupting your day like that. 

So, what's the difference?

I think that it's the formality of a workplace and the informality of working from home. There is a respect and appreciation for a 'place of work' that doesn't exist 'at home'. 

And so, we need to create and hold that structure and we do that by putting boundaries in place.

Putting boundaries in place  

Although I'd explained over and over that I was working at home and I wasn't able to see them, my friends and family just didn't seem to be getting the message.

I realised that I had to be a lot more assertive with them, to break through that belief that my business wasn't as important or deserving of respect as a  'proper company or organisation'. 

The Not Now but When Technique 

I tried a few different things {I suggest you do the same as it may take a few tries to get the result you want} until I found one that really worked for me.  

It's called  the ‘Not Now but When’ technique because you start by stating that you can't see them/talk/have coffee NOW, but then let them know WHEN you can.

The trick is, not to even start a conversation - but just state your position. 

Here's an example:

On opening the door say:  “This is a bad time, but I’ll be free after 6, see you then.”


“Can’t talk now, but let’s do lunch, I’ll come to you at 12.30.”

Have a play with the wording until you're happy with it and practise it often in the mirror. 

I also asked my other biz mums what they do

I have a friend who makes wedding invitations.  When she has a large order in she can be working around the clock, but this doesn't seem to stop her family and friends from just popping in for a coffee and a chat.

She made a sign for the door that says:

"You can make your own coffee and talk to me while I get this order finished, but I won't be stopping to entertain you -  AS I'M WORKING!!"

I think they've got the message 🙂

Your turn: 

So, how do you deal with interruptions when working from home?

Please share in the comments. Your ideas could really help another biz mum. Thank you for being here,

Heather x

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WAHM TIPS: Every week we bring you a tip to help ease the stress of working from home.  It may be a technique for managing time better, being more productive, achieving work-life balance or just getting through the day with your sanity intact. CONTACT ME with your  own WAHM tips and get yourself featured on the blog.