Teresa Jones

Dear Tereasa:

I work full time out of my home as a medical transcriptionist.† I love working from home, but I have a neighbor who does not work and she stops by several times a week to chat.† She stays for well over an hour each time and then it makes me have to work late into the evening.† No matter how I hint around about needing to get back to work she doesnít pick up on it.† I feel that, because I work from home, she does not respect my time or realize that I work an 8 hour day just as I would if I worked in an office.† I donít want to hurt her feelings.† What should I do?

Out of time and patience

Dear Out of time:

As it becomes more common for people to work from their homes the issue of how to deal with well meaning interruptions becomes more pressing.† You said that you have hinted around and that you do not want to hurt your friendís feelings.† Iím wondering how good a friend she is if you feel that you canít be honest.† I believe that it would show respect for her for you to have the confidence in your friendship to be honest with her.† It is, however, sometimes difficult to know how to say these things.† You might want to start with telling her how much you value your friendship with her and how much you enjoy your chats.† Next tell her that as much as you enjoy this time with her, it is important for you to stick to a work schedule that allows you to have your evenings free.† Let her know that you have decided that during work hours you will not answer your door or phone (you wouldnít be answering either if you were at an office in another location).† If you want, you could suggest that you and she make arrangements for lunch every now and then so you can catch up.† This policy would probably be a good one, in general, for you if you are going to continue to work from home.† There are all sorts of interruptions that occur during the course of a day that could derail you and take your attention from work.† Clear boundaries between work hours and non-work hours will benefit you and help keep your evenings free.† It will also benefit those who know you because they will know when and how to contact you.† Remember that we teach people how to treat us.† If you want people to respect your work hours, first you must teach them to do so.† I hope this helps.† Good luck.

Tereasa

Dear Tereasa:

This is sort of an odd problem.† When I get sick my husband is way too attentive.† He hovers over me and tries his best to take care of me.† The problem is that he has ways of trying to take care of me that I donít like.† He brings me over the counter medicines of all sorts and wants me to take them with no concern for whether or not they should be taken together.† I know he means well, but I feel strongly about not mixing medications, even if they are over the counter.† Sometimes he even takes off work to ďtake care of meĒ.† That is even worse.† He insists that I go to bed and then he pops his head in every half hour or so to see if I need anything.† Itís worse than being in a hospital with all the interruptions you get there.† I canít get any rest at all.† He is so loving and caring and wants so much to help that I canít bring myself to get mad at him.† He is, after all, just trying to help.† Itís getting so bad that Iím afraid to even tell him Iím not feeling well.† I just try to put on a good face and go about my business.† When I can I try to take naps when he isnít around.† Help!† I must be the only person you know who complains that her husband takes too good care of her!

Afraid to be sick

Dear Afraid:

You are a very fortunate woman to have such a loving husband.† However, I can see that you have a very serious problem here.† First of all I would like to tell you that you are absolutely correct about not mixing medications, whether they are over the counter medications or prescriptions.† You should check with your doctor or pharmacist before ever mixing medications.† You need to be firm about this with your husband.† You can thank him for caring, but tell him that you wonít be taking these medications unless you first speak with her doctor or pharmacist.† I think you and your husband need to sit down and talk about your preferences for how to be treated when you are not feeling well.† You might start by telling him how you appreciate his desire to help you and care for you.† Being careful to use I statements let him know, though, that you feel a bit smothered and unable to rest when he takes off work and checks on you so frequently.† End up by making a request.† Maybe you could request that he stay at work unless you ask him to come home and that he only check on you a couple of times during the evening.† Again, reassure him that you appreciate him.† I hope this helps.† Good luck.

Tereasa