How to Make Your Family Take Your Time Seriously When You Work from Home

Family and Working from Home

I know you’re reading this post hoping that I will give you secret recipe for changing your family and getting them to realize your work is important, dammit

Sure, you can sit your family down and have a conversation with them about what you’re doing and why it matters. You can even hang a sign on your office door that says “Don’t bother me unless one of the three B’s are happening: Burning, Bleeding, Barfing.”

Which is effective.

Now, a lot of people think that this should be obvious: If you work, you work, right? But a lot of women, and increasingly men as well, don’t know how to say no to their families when what they really need to do is focus on work.

If that’s no you, sayonara. Catch you on the next post. But if you’re a family gal or guy hoping to become a businessperson as well – well, this is for you.

Your Work Matters, and Your Family Should Know It

But this post isn’t about that; it’s actually about you. Because here’s the thing:

Your family is not going to take your work seriously until you do.

You have to set your boundaries and teach your family how to treat you when you’re working. Especially if your business is young, and you’re just starting to take it seriously yourself. So this will involve change for everyone.

If you roll your eyes and huff but still give in to their requests for a snack, laundry, whining to you about their day, you’re telling them this: Although interruptions annoy you, they are nevertheless acceptable.

Not good. You have to set your limits.

This can be especially hard to do with children, since as mom’s were constantly told we need to give up our lives for our children. Which we’re primed to believe, for sure.

But this of it this way: If you don’t get your work done, and lose your job and end up living in a cardboard box with razor blade cut outs for windows, that’s not meeting your children’s needs either, now is it?


Hint: It is not. So learn to say no. Boundaries are one of the best things you can teach your children anyway.

Boundaries, I said. Don’t let it go in one ear and out the other. Really internalize this.

Now pop quiz: Remember those boundaries we just talked about?

Nod your head, please.

Thank you.

Harden Your Heart, My Writer Friend

Even more important than your family following your rules is you following them.

You need to learn not to give in. If you say no, and then cave into the complaining or get distracted from your work because you’re now thinking of the thing your husband just said, you’re giving that boundary up. You can’t expect your family to do it when you don’t do it yourself.

I mean, come on. When I want a banana muffin stat, I’m definitely not going to go quietly into the night. If I can get you to give it to me … oh, I will. And I’m not even a child.

However. I know making boundaries with your family is much easier said than done, so it’s good to have some standard responses on the ready.

Respect Your Family and They’ll Respect You

One great way to keep the interruptions at bay it to post your work hours somewhere – the front of the door is great, if you’re lucky enough to have an office, or anywhere else in the vicinity of your workspace.

When your family interrupts you for a non-emergency, point to the hours. Don’t just tell them to shove off, because no one wants to hear that.

Instead, tell them when you can get back to them, and add: “I can’t wait to hear about your day when I’m done with my work in an hour!” or “I’ll help you with your homework after dinner when I’m done with my work. For now, do what you can do on your own.”

So remember, all change has to start with you. You’re the one who has to teach people how to treat you.

And the one that has to decide your work is worth it.

Another way to decide your work is worth it? Get all the lowdown on being a writer, day in and day out. Grab the goodies from the Free Resource Library to get funnier, find a more unique voice, rock your organization and your emails, and market yourself like a pro. Or at least, like a not-idiot, which in the beginning is really all you can expect from yourself.

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