An interesting tidbit was picked up by our local newspaper from The Tampa Tribune in Florida: "Workplace psychologists say it takes 15 minutes for our minds to reach a state of full concentration on one project. (When the outside world seems to fade into the background.) That means any disruption costs us a half-hour: 15 minutes to start focusing, another 15 to refocus."
So, if I read this right, every interruption when you're at full concentration means it's going to take you about half an hour to rev back up to full concentration.
I can get behind this, and this is why I hate it when the phone rings when I'm trying to work. I lose focus and it takes me time to get back into the zone.
When I complain about this to non-writers and/or people who don't work at home, they'll say, "Just don't answer it then." But the ringing itself takes me out of the zone. It doesn't matter if I answer or not, or if it's one ring or five. I've already been interrupted, and if I don't answer, or at least look at the call display, I'll be distracted wondering who it was.
Then disconnect the phone, they say. We have seven phones. Also, I have kids and elderly parents and in-laws. What if there's an emergency?
I also can't concentrate fully if I'm waiting for somebody to come and repair something, and I've discovered the hard way that if they know I'll be home anyway, I apparently go to the bottom of the list in terms of urgency. So I now tell repair folks that I'll be taking time off work to wait for them. This is true in terms of how much I can accomplish, and it shouldn't matter that my office is in the basement.
This has turned into a bit of a rant, but truly, I wish people would understand that I am working at home. It seems no matter how many times and in how many ways I say it, some people just don't get it.