Distractions!

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Distractions!

Postby Susanne on Fri Jun 19, 2009 3:26 pm

How in the world do you ever get anything done? I homeschool, so my 11 year old is home with me all the time, oldest daughter is in and out, borrowing the car, needing help with stuff, etc, hubby calls to check in once a day or so, parents live very near by and stop in every day at least once (they're both retired and a bit bored). My home floor plan is fairly open so my office is in an L off the living room right by the main hallway through the house. I have no place to go and close a door, I'm basically in the middle of a fishbowl. If I can work for 20 minutes without interruption I'm doing well. I spend most of my time on the computer helping small businesses build web sites and do marketing, plus I do writing and personal coaching. I need my own office, I guess, but that's not a possibility. I shouldn't complain because I am blessed to have an awesome family around me but I am so frustrated right now. :( I've been a full 9 days trying to work on a project that should only take about 10 hours. I sure would appreciate any ideas.
thanks
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Re: Distractions!

Postby htwfh on Fri Jun 19, 2009 4:22 pm

Hi Sue,

I don't want to sound mercenary about this, but I'd sit that awesome family of yours down (including your parents) and ask them to help you:

1. Explain to them why you're running a home business (make extra income for _____, be more available for them compared to having an 'outside' job, be able to manage the household & do homeschooling, etc.), and why it's important to you. Ask them to help you present a professional image (quiet while on phone, meeting deadlines, etc.)

2. Ask them to respect some established regular business hours - then be flexible with your hours, break them up into segments; eg. 3 hours in the morning & 2 in the afternoon (you may violate them to go with your family, but they shouldn't violate them unless it's an emergency).

3. Hang an "I'm Busy Right Now" sign near your office (from the back of your chair if necessary). Use it when you absolutely need peace and quiet to talk with a client or you need time to complete your simple 10-hour project. Ask them to 'check the sign' before interrupting.

4. Explain to hubby that you may not pick up on his call right away or you may call him back. (I'm a hubby and I understand when my wife does this on occasion.) :D

5. Try to find some outside-the-house activities for your folks. Get them involved with a community center, helping in a classroom, a senior citizens' center, church activity, etc.

Then gently and kindly reinforce, reinforce, reinforce until it becomes habit to both them and you!

They really do sound like an awesome family, so I'm sure that when they understand how important this is to you, they'll cooperate to the fullest!

Hope this helps some,

Brian

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Re: Distractions!

Postby LorettaOliver on Sat Jun 20, 2009 3:08 pm

Brian's suggestion is actually spot on. You've got to talk to the family and say "HEY! I need x amount of time per day to just work...." if they can't give you that x amount of time per day then you pack up your laptop and head to the latest barnes & noble, starbucks, mcdonalds, airport, anywhere with free wi-fi .... for some peace and quiet!

I used to have a heck of a time getting anything done between everything, having a chat with them improved things a million and ten percent right away.

Start off small to give them time to adjust like 1 or 2 hours at a time! Right now it's summertime and my kids are home and 2 hours straight per day is what I ask for. Of course I usually work more than that, but I get 2 uninterrupted hours. To interrupt me during that time someone better have broken bones or blood spouting from gaping wounds!

With the younger kids it was sort of a hard thing to grasp at first "mom is working but mom is right here not at work..." Put something physical on your desk that signifies you're at work for them. Something big and noticeable! "When this big orange rock is on mom's desk that means she's at work and you have to wait until the rock is gone to ask for things."

I hope that helps!
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Re: Distractions!

Postby Susanne on Sun Jun 21, 2009 3:22 pm

Thanks for your ideas and input, it is much appreciated. I love the big orange rock idea. Might be just the thing for my visually orientated boy. You're both right about having a talk with folks. I'm half afraid the reason they see my work time as me "just being on the computer" is because I haven't made it clear to them I'm serious about pursuing a business. A wise person once said "people treat us about as well as we allow them to." It's hard to turn off "mommy mode" and ignore the requests and questions, though.
I can't wait to earn enough extra money to purchase a lap top (hey, it is a tax deduction after all.). Part of the problem is having to share the one family computer among four of us. Now that my folks' computer is in the shop for two weeks, I also have them asking to log on and check their email on our one computer. Someone is always wanting "their" turn on the computer.
Thanks for the help
Sue
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Re: Distractions!

Postby Mel on Mon Jun 22, 2009 9:31 am

LorettaOliver wrote: With the younger kids it was sort of a hard thing to grasp at first "mom is working but mom is right here not at work..." Put something physical on your desk that signifies you're at work for them. Something big and noticeable! "When this big orange rock is on mom's desk that means she's at work and you have to wait until the rock is gone to ask for things."


Ditto what Brian and Loretta suggested. When my kids were small, I used a plastic stop sign on my door to signify when I working. The sign is long gone but the closed door still means I'm on the phone with a client or doing something where I cannot be disturbed (hubby is even trained to it). My daughter (16) is the only one left at home so if I need to tune out her & her friends, I just cram on my headphones and listen to upbeat music.

I can related to sharing the computer. We have multiple computers, but only one internet connection (satellite) and it doesn't work properly with wireless. So I have them asking "can I have the net yet?" What I've done is say M-F from 9am - 5pm is my work schedule. During these hours the internet stays connected to my computer, period. Any other time, they can take it unless I happen to have a heavy workload and need it longer, in which case, they have to give it up.

It boils down to this... I can have the internet and make money that they can in turn enjoy, or they can use it to surf, check mail, talk to their friends, etc and then sit at home and be bored and broke all the time because I couldn't earn any money. It's their choice. :wink:
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Re: Distractions!

Postby StaciJansma on Tue Jun 23, 2009 6:03 am

Very good points made in this post. I have explained that to my husband but try a two-year-old when she asks for Mommy, but Mommy is working. I know over time she will understand but you just have to focus on what is important now. Lately I have been working when they are asleep - that has helped me at least!

Good luck with time management. Over time I think you will figure out when you want to work and how it will work out.
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Re: Distractions!

Postby htwfh on Tue Jun 23, 2009 1:09 pm

Sure enough, Staci!

My wife and I had a more difficult time working our business when our kids were younger (course, one of the main points to a home business is to be with family more). We did as you're doing now, working during nap time. We also managed solid blocks of time by working early in the morning and late at night when the kiddos were asleep.

Playpen time in another room came in handy too when we had to make phone calls. :D

You're right, your 2-yr-old will understand your business needs more and more as she grows. In a few years you'll be amazed at the blocks of time you'll be able to have!

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Re: Distractions!

Postby KellyM on Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:51 pm

These are all really good ideas.

Is it possible to partition off your computer area from the rest of the house? My mother worked from home when I was a small child, and she had a cubical set up where I wasn't allowed in. :( lol.

I found these after a quick search, but I'm sure you could do better: http://www.officemax.com/office-furnitu ... rod2510036

You could also use shelving units, or privacy screens. I just think it would be helpful to have the area closed off a bit, so it's not as tempting for people to bother you while you're working. :)

Good luck!
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Re: Distractions!

Postby linda1 on Wed Jul 01, 2009 3:08 pm

I agree! Working from home can be a thankless task, you end up running round all day without completeing a project. You will have to be firm with your family and have set times where no-one can disturb you. When homeschooling, do you have perhaps half an hour while your child is working on a project or essay? It is hard but persevere, it's worth it!
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Re: Distractions!

Postby Susanne on Thu Jul 02, 2009 10:48 am

I like the idea of a partition. My other option is to take over a corner of my bedroom. Not optional because I don't want to be thinking about my next project sitting over in the corner when I'm trying to go to sleep. Bedroom should be for relaxing, right? Part of the problem, and I'm sure this applies to everyone, there is so much to be done working in 30 - 60 minute snatches just isn't enough. I barely get something started and suddenly time's up. I do a lot of web design so there is always another bug to fix or something isn't formatted right or I need more information from the client. No different from what everyone else deals with. I guess I need a way to hyper focus during the time I do have to get as much done in the little time I have.
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Re: Distractions!

Postby Mel on Thu Jul 02, 2009 12:09 pm

I personally would not put it in my bedroom unless absolutely necessary. I tried that and you're right, work was constantly on the brain rather than rest and relaxation. Some people it may not affect but for me, it sucked.

I used to homeschool my kids and what helped a lot was to have a routine. Each morning we'd do their studies. I'd get them going on that days work & while they were doing the assignments, I could focus on my work. We set aside a certain amount of time each morning and if they finished early, they would go quietly watch TV until the time was up.

If your parents are bored, why not get them to help out and kill two birds with one stone? They could take your kids to the library for a couple hours once or twice a week. They could go to the park, a museum, the YMCA, a movie, etc. When we moved closer to my family, my mom and brother used to do this with my kids. It was great because I got a few hours to focus on work and they had a great time bonding.
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Re: Distractions!

Postby KellyM on Mon Jul 06, 2009 1:59 am

Susanne wrote:...there is so much to be done working in 30 - 60 minute snatches just isn't enough. I barely get something started and suddenly time's up.


But why are you only allowing yourself 30-60 minutes at a time? Can you schedule a few consecutive hours during the day for work? You just have to be firm with your family and tell them that you absolutely cannot be bothered during that time, unless someone is bleeding or something. It's hard, but it's something that every work at home mother has had to do. :)
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Re: Distractions!

Postby Susanne on Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:58 am

Kelly,
When I said working in 30 minute snatches isn't enough, I was responding to Linda's post suggesting I grab moments while my child is working on a 30 minute school project. I agree with you, I need 2+ hours at a time.
I think part of the issue comes from being the only one in my extended family who understands computers and how to use them. To everyone else, using the computer is recreational time for browsing the internet and that's all. So when they see me on the computer every time they come in the house, in their experience, that's not working. I'm the only one who knows how to edit video and upload it to YouTube, for heaven's sake.
I've confronted my husband thanks to your support. Not in an angry way, but last time he said "are you on the computer AGAIN?" I responded he needs to tell me right now if he wants me to pursue a business or not, because it's going to mean spending hours on the computer. If that's a problem we need to discuss the whole home business issue again. I know he's supportive, but not being someone who makes a living using a computer he just didn't understand that work=use computer.
Now I've got to talk with parents and kids. I think a sign on the outside door for the parents and a large timer on my desk to show the kids exactly how much time I have left will do a lot to help.
Thanks for all of your input, it's very helpful
Sue
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Re: Distractions!

Postby wahm375 on Fri Jul 10, 2009 12:03 pm

I love the suggestions posted. I decided to lessen my workload for the summer because my daughter is home with me (she is five years old and was in pre-k last year). I would love to have an office too, but live in a small apartment. I am usually working from the kitchen table with my laptop. Your child is older than mine, but craft projects worked great for me. I was able to set her up at the table next to me. I was there to help and offer encouragement, but still work too.

I think it is neat you are able to work from home and homeschool too. I, personally, don't know if I could handle that much.
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