Dealing with phone interruptions

Nichole RustadI work from home while my children are roaming about the house. Most days, I have try to make this situation work for everyone, and I have to admit, the system is almost flawless…almost.  It is only when the phone rings that the system breaks down.

Though my clients are aware that I work from home, and that my children are probably somewhere in the background, I try to maintain an air of professionalism. It isn’t that difficult to pull off until a child comes running into my office, loudly requesting a snack, without checking to see if I am on the phone. This is where my version of sign language has come into play…well, not really sign language. It’s more like an interpretive dance.

If I’m waiving my hand wildly in the air, they know to stop speaking and wait until I’ve finished my conversation. I know I look ridiculous, but I’ve tried other tactics – reminding them to look before talking, closing the door, etc. – nothing so far has been nearly as successful as the wild hand dance.

Do you work at home while your kids are around? How do you keep phone interruptions to a minimum?

3 thoughts on “Dealing with phone interruptions

  1. Alba

    Yes, I am there with you. I have the hand-waving dance also, but locking the door seems most effective. Unfortunately, I rely quite a bit on voicemail unless the house is empty or the 3-year-old is napping. My new great strategy is sending the 3YO to preschool for 6 hours of silence per week. Thankfully, many of my clients are mothers, too.

  2. Pamela Saxon

    Nichole, I laughed out loud at your comment about the hand-waiving dance, because I know exactly what you are talking about, and have done it myself on more than one occasion! Both of my kids are now in school (1st and 6th grades) but I still get interruptions from them during the summer.

    This won’t work with toddlers (I’m not sure how young your kids are), but around age 4 we start to set ground rules in our home regarding ‘privacy’ which work in all situations, including work. Before entering a room, everyone is expected to knock lightly on the door, whether it is closed or not, as a way of saying, “Is it okay if I come in?” If a door is closed, knocking is not an option unless there is an emergency. (We have a no-lock policy in our home.) This has worked very well for us, but takes a little time and patience to get going. Of course, what is an emergency to our children, like wanting a snack, is not necessarily the definition of emergency to us!