How to deal with interruptions

I love this image: this is me every day!

I’m cooking breakfast.

A kid spills a glass of milk and makes a huge mess.

I sit down to work on a writing project for a client.

A simmering pot bubbles up and spills all over the stovetop.

I’m trying to do some yard work.

A neighbor drops by and engages me in conversation over the fence, totally oblivious to the dinnertime pressure the late afternoon hour means for me.

Life is full of interruptions – especially when you live in a house with kids who cry, fight, don’t want to do their schoolwork, and constantly mess up their surroundings. You might feel like you’re about to tear your hair out in frustration when you know all you need is an hour to finish a project, but you can’t even get 15 quiet minutes.

So how do I still handle things without going crazy?

Answer: I don’t. There are days when I feel I’m about to crack under the strain, but I do find that a few things help me keep the balance.

  1. I get up early in the morning. At least, I try, as tempting as it is to get a few more minutes of shut-eye. I have found out that my best chance of getting stuff done is early, before anyone else is up. But to do that, I need to go to bed early the day before – if I push myself to be productive after only 3-4 hours of sleep, I’m groggy all day long and won’t be much good for anything.
  2. I expect interruptions. I know I won’t have long quiet stretches of time throughout the day, and set realistic goals.
  3. I break up tasks into increments. Rather than say, “OK, I have an article to write/closet to rearrange/kitchen to clean and it will take one hour,” I say, “Now I write a few paragraphs/clean a couple of shelves, and it will take 15 minutes. After that, I’ll go on if nothing’s in the way.”

Even if I’m super organized and set my priorities just right, I can never do all I’ve planned – but usually, I have something to showcase at the end of each day, which is better than nothing.


Author: Anna

An Orthodox Jewish wife and mother enjoying a simple life with her family and chickens, somewhere in the hills, in Israel.

8 thoughts on “How to deal with interruptions”

  1. Tis true that breaking a task into 15 increments of time is helpful…I am not a good housekeeper, so often during all my years it went its way while I dealt with the many interruptions. I admire your abilities to do all you do!! The only way I was able to sew and complete those kind of tasks, was to set it up after my kids went to bed and work into the wee hours. Now I cannot stretch myself that way…too old! If I had had an extra room just for projects like that, it would have helped…but somehow one manages anyway…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have this problem and I don’t even have four children running around the house! The dog, the cat, and The Squire are my only companions, and I still can’t get things done. I do try to set the time for an hour, and work on something; right now I’m trying to see if there is actually an ironing board in the other room, or if it’s just a pile of wrinkled fabric. If I get interrupted, I stop the timer and then restart it when I go back. At least that way I can honestly feel that I worked on the sewing room for an hour, instead of feeling I worked in there ALL DAY and didn’t accomplish much at all.

    Liked by 1 person

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