Just Say No to Interruptions, part 1 – FAH episode 21

interruptions

It’s hard  to get anything done when you’re constantly being interrupted. You know exactly what I’m talking about, don’t you? You’re desperately trying to accomplish some task, and the phone rings. The dryer buzzes. The baby cries. You hear a mysterious crash from the kitchen. The doorbell rings. Calgon can’t even take you away because it’s impossible to get 5 minutes alone in the bathroom.

No matter how well we manage our time, our best efforts are often undermined by interruptions. I’m defining interruptions broadly as anything that keeps us from doing what we need to do by distracting us from our priorities and making us lose our focus.

Interruptions can come from strangers, acquaintances, business associates, friends, family…and even from ourselves. They can involve bad or good news, illness, ordinary events, or enticing opportunities.

Whatever the source, they distract us from what we have planned to do, hinder our productivity, and upset our balance. They can trigger bad attitudes and make us frustrated or irritable. Even worse, they can confuse us about what is really important.

Today we’re going to look at ways to handle the interruptions and distractions that come from outside our homes, especially through technology.

Perception of Moms at Home

When you spend most of your time at home, some people assume that you are available anytime.  Homeschooling and working from home are so different from our society’s norms that many people don’t take them seriously. They may call you or drop by your house although they would never call or drop by if you worked in an office.

It’s important to show God’s love by serving people, but you simply can’t be available on demand for everyone all the time without neglecting your own family. It’s essential to establish some boundaries, or your true priorities will be completely undermined.

Telephone and Texting

What’s your most common interruption? For many people, it’s the telephone. Cell phones have made it even worse by creating an expectation that everyone should be instantly available all the time. Here are a few tips for making the phone your servant, not your master:

  • Ignore the phone.
  • Turn off the ringer.
  • Use caller ID.
  • Use an answering machine or voice mail.
  • Use call waiting.
  • Reply to phone messages by e-mail.

Doorbell

  • Just ignore it.
  • Put a note on the door.
  • Use the peephole like caller ID.
  • Answer the door with work in your hands.

E-mail and Social Media

The Internet is a wonderful tool, but it can also be a hindrance. Discipline yourself ot use e-mail and social media wisely and intentionally.

  • Don’t go online first thing in the morning.
  • Create rules to automatically sort incoming e-mail messages into folders.
  • Act on most e-mails right away.
  • Create a folder for action items.
  • Minimize incoming messages.

Technology has made it possible to stay in touch with friends and family and make new acquaintances from all over the world. Used wisely, social media can be a tremendous tool for relaxation, fellowship, business networking, and ministering to others. Used carelessly, it can be a distraction and a hindrance to focusing on your family and other priorities. Remember the value of your time and use your time online with discretion and self-discipline.

On the next episode of the Flourish At Home show, we’ll continue talking about interruptions and what we can do about them. Meanwhile, I want to hear from YOU! What interruptions bug you the most? How do handle them? Be sure to leave a comment and share your best ideas with us!

Remember, you’ll find encouragement and practical tips for managing your busy life in my book, Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms, available at FlourishAtHome.com.

Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms

Comments

  1. My family members are the worst. We are the only ones that homeschool in our extended family. I get calls to babysit my nephew and then sometimes people just show up at my house. The phone, computer and strangers aren’t my problem, it’s family that doesn’t take our homeschool seriously. I finally had to start asking them “Would you pull your son/daughter out of public school for this?” If the answer was no, I told them that is exactly what they were doing to my children.

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