How to Handle Distractions

Published: 20th November 2016
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When you work from home, do housework, or attempt to get things done as a single mom it's hard to balance those things with kids. I have a 14-month-old son who loves to follow me around, be held, and see what I'm doing, especially when I'm working on the computer. He likes to be "in the know." As I'm sure you know even older kids can be great interruptions.

How do you stop these interruptions? It really depends on how old the kids are. Sometimes all it takes is spending a little time with them, so they know they are still important, appreciated, and loved. Sometimes they just want some attention and to know they still matter. So give it to them.

Then make sure they know when it's time for you to work, it's time for you to work. Meaning they can't continually interrupt you. If they are old enough explain in relation to what it means to them. Just like how you feel when someone is trying to sell you something, you want to know what's in it for you. Kids are no different. They want to know what's in it for them.

I encourage you to propose it in a way that makes sense to them. If mommy doesn't work, then money doesn't come in. If money doesn't come in, then you don't get toys, play soccer, or participate in after school activities. You like playing soccer, don't you. Of course, he will say yes, because you're going to pick something you know he just loves.

Great, so can mommy work for a little while? Then we'll play again when I get such and such done. How does that sound? If he says no, then ask him if it's okay that he doesn't play soccer. If he really loves it (again which is why you picked that as your example), it's not going to be okay that he doesn't get to play anymore.

The same tactic works no matter what you are doing. Mommy needs to cook, get the laundry done, clean out this closet, etc. Then explain to them why it's important, they need to eat, they need to have clothes to wear, or you need to donate clothes to people who can't afford it, because it's important to give back. Then give him an example of how someone gave to you.

With a 14-month-old, it doesn't work exactly the same, because I'm not explaining things to him. However, when he keeps climbing up on my chair to get to my lap to see what I'm doing, then I spend some one-on-one time with him. He has such a short attention span, that once I get over there, he is no longer interested in me. He just wants me to pay attention to him, and I get that. So I do.

Does that interrupt my thoughts? Yes. Does it interrupt my flow? Absolutely. But I also know I only have a limited time when he is this young (or if your kids are older, you only have a limited time they are going to want your attention. Before you know it, they will want to be as far away from you as possible.) So I spend time with my son and time on my work.

If your kids are older, a tactic that works great is to create a sign for your office door that either has a happy face, that says, "I'm free" or a sad one that says, "I'm busy/working." Let your kids know what it means, and when you're working you can't be interrupted. If you don't get work done, then you'll be stressed and overwhelmed, which can sometimes allow you to be more snappy, quick to frustration, or easily angered. No one wants mommy that way. They will definitely understand what that means to them.

With so many interruptions from kids, don't allow yourself to distract you either. Turn off Facebook. Close your email. Turn off your cell phone. No TV and no radio. Focus, focus, focus. Hold yourself accountable, and you'll see the quick results you get.

You're only going to spend 15 minutes on Facebook. Then before you know it, you're looking at your friend's pictures, commenting on a post, or updating your status. Then your best friend calls. You should talk to her. Instead of that conversation lasting 15 minutes, it lasts an hour.

So now, you've been distracted for two hours when you should have been working on your business, finding a better career, or uncovering your purpose. I don't want you to be stuck any more. Hold yourself accountable. No more distractions.

The more you concentrate the quicker you will be finished. You'll be able to join your family for a stress-free night as opposed to only a few minutes when you'd be worried anyways the whole time about what you need to finish. You want to enjoy life, so take out the distractions and interruptions you allow yourself to deal with on a daily basis. You'll be able to focus for longer periods of time, and you'll be to accomplish so much more which will decrease your stress and overwhelm while contributing to your happiness.


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As a single mom and founder of The Single Mom Movement, Jessica Rector knows how single moms are overwhelmed, exhausted, and stressed. With targeted private coaching, programs, and school, she connects single moms to happiness, fulfillment, and empowerment by using her proven strategies. Clients praise Jessica for getting massive results after one session.

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