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Is Your Family Constantly Interrupting You at Work?

Four Ways to Set Healthy Work/Home Boundaries

In today’s busy work world, distractions and interruptions throughout the day can be non-stop. This can wreak havoc on productivity.

Besides the constant companion of cell phones and digital devices, receptionists no longer handle routine paperwork and screen our phone calls.

Open-door policies and open workplaces allow an ongoing rotation of unnecessary conversations and interruptions. Most of us are continuously connected to the world outside of work with technology. The days when you went to work, did your job for 8 hours and dealt with family issues on personal time are long gone. When work doesn’t get done during the day, we wind up staying late, working weekends or bringing work home. This can be frustrating and overwhelming, and keep us all wondering if all this work will ever get finished.

If your productivity is suffering, or you’re feeling overwhelmed with distractions and constant interruptions, here are four quick tips to help you regain productivity and leave work at work:

Set realistic boundaries

Talk with your family to determine what communication is appropriate while you’re at work. Grandma falling or someone heading to the hospital means an instant phone call or 911 text. “Doggie lost his favorite ball at daycare”,  “I can’t find the ketchup” and “I got an A on my test” are all topics that can be discussed over dinner (remember that?).

Resist the urge to “check In” constantly

Even though we have the ability to connect all day and instantly, resist the urge to do so. Do you really need to call home and ask “Did you remember to buy concert tickets?”, “Did you hear about the new Netflix series?” or “Has the cell phone bill been paid this month?”

Create a new family ritual

No matter what the age of your children (or parents), everyone wants to have the opportunity to share their good news and have quality conversations with the people they love the most. When your family has news that they want to share with you right away, teach them pause and think before calling, texting or sending an instant message. Is this something that can wait until you’re sitting face to face? Create rituals where you can spend actual quality time in real conversation with every person that’s important to you. Let them know that if they get the lead in the school play or make the varsity team you want to know right away. Everyday news can be put on a list to share in person. (Lists can be made with crayons and paper, on a cell phone, virtual note pad, journal, or voice memo) 

Keep family time sacred

It’s a little easier to set up a work/family boundary at work when you have an actual building that you’re walking into with clear-cut schedules responsibilities. Be sure to do the same at home. If you ask your family to give you privacy and an interruption-free day while you’re at work, then you owe it to them to be fully present at home.  

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