Friends, neighbors, parents, inlaws, significant others—sometimes they all seem to be conspiring to make sure you don’t get any work done. As long as you don’t have your own kids underfoot (that’s an entirely different matter) here’s everything you need to know in 30 seconds or less.
1) Get Caller ID and use it.
2) Hide your car. If you don’t have a garage, park the car a few streets away.
3) Hide out in a room that’s not easily seen from the front door. Pull the shades. Then play dead. Your curiosity will be your own worst enemy when the doorbell rings. Don’t give into it!
If, in spite of 1, 2, and 3, these people still manage to get through to you, then 4) say no. No, I can’t go fishing. No, I can’t watch your darling toddler “for a minute.” No, I can’t fly to Bora Bora with you—even if you have a free ticket for me. Say firmly, I’m working. I’ll call you back after 5:00 (or whenever) to set up a time when we can go fishing, when I can watch your toddler, when I will fly to Bora Bora. Many telecommuters find that they are their own worst enemy and research shows that 44% of all work interruptions are self-imposed, e.g., stopping to check e-mail. If you need help overcoming distractions of all kinds, you might try reading this.
By the way, Amazon sells the “Go Away Come In” door mat pictured above for $23.49.