Cut the distractions

Almost every leader I work with wants to solve the work/home balance issues that have been plaguing employees for years.

Today, with mobile availability, distractions and interruptions throughout the day can be nonstop. Receptionists no longer handle routine paperwork and screen phone calls. Open door policies and open workplaces allow an ongoing rotation of unnecessary conversations.

Most employees are continuously connected to the world outside of work with technology. The days when you went to work, did your job for eight hours and dealt with family issues on personal time are long gone.

Employee distraction adds up to a decline in profits, and many professionals bring work home, feel frustrated and wonder if they will ever get it all done.

Here are some tips to help you maintain productivity and leave work at work:

Set boundaries

Talk with your family to determine what communication is appropriate while you’re at work.

Grandma falling or someone heading to the hospital means an instant phone call or 911 text. Doggie lost his favorite ball at day care, “I can’t find the ketchup” and I got an A on my test are all topics that can be discussed at the dinner table.

Resist the urge to check in

Even though we have the ability to connect all day and instantly, resist the urge to do so. Do you really need to call home and ask “Did you remember to buy concert tickets?” or “Has the cable bill been paid this month?”

Encourage your family to make a list

No matter what the age of your children (or parents), everyone wants to have the opportunity to share their good news and have quality conversations with the people they love the most.

When your family has news that they want to share with you right away, teach them to pause and think before calling, texting or sending an instant message. Is this something that can wait until you’re sitting face to face?

Create rituals where you can spend actual quality time in real conversation with every person that’s important to you.

Let them know that if they get the lead in the school play or make the varsity team you want to know right away. Everyday news can be put on a list to share in person. (Lists can be made with crayons and paper, on a cellphone, virtual notepad or journal.)

When you’re with family, be with family

It’s a little easier to set up a work/family boundary at work — when you have an actual building that you’re walking into with clear-cut responsibilities. Be sure to do the same at home.

If you ask your family to give you privacy and an interruption-free day while you’re at work, then you owe it to them to be fully present at home.