Friday, October 03, 2008

Interruptions While Freelancing

Everyone has experienced the rush and pressure of an impending deadline. You're concentrating and are on a roll. All of a sudden, the phone rings and you automatically pick it up. It's your mom. You ask, "What are you doing calling me on my business line?"

She replies, "Well I need to reach you right away and I knew you'd be sitting at your computer e-mailing."

"Mom, I'm not e-mailing. I'm working, and I'm on a deadline!"

"Yeah, but you have all day." She then proceeds to tell you all about so-and-so and what her new theory is about the cause of her marital problems. Next thing you know, you're calling your sister to tell her of the latest theory. By the time you look at your clock, a whole hour has passed. By that time, you have to check your e-mails to see if the potential client wrote back, then you get side-tracked reading other e-mails. Does this scenario sound familiar?

Here are some ideas to stay focused on your work:

* Have voicemail pick up your calls. Return calls later. Schedule a time for it.

* Make sure your children are occupied while you work. Tell them no interruptions, unless it's an emergency. Give them guidelines of what an emergency is. Set a time when it's ok to talk with you.

* If you have young children, or a baby, work around their nap time. Or hire a babysitter to watch over them while you work. You can also swap babysitting duties with a friend or neighbor.

* Tell your spouse, significant other, or any adults in your household not to disturb you. Give them a time when you'll be available.

* Don't make any calls when pressed for a deadline. Before you know it, you'll stay on too long chatting and precious time will be wasted.

* Don't check your e-mails when you want uninterrupted time. You'll get distracted and start reading other e-mails, then you'll start answering them all.

* If you have pets, make sure they're entertained (playing with toys), chewing on a rawhide bone (for your dog), or napping. When pets want your attention, they let you know. Cats can jump on your desk and sit on your papers. Dogs can pull and tug on you when they want your attention or want to go for a walk. Remember to plan around them too.

We all have distractions. The important thing is not to give into them (at least not for long!).

How do you handle interruptions?