Dear Queenie,

  I am lucky to have a job where I can work from home at least part of the time.

  My problem is that my family and some of my friends think that because I am at home and not all dressed up for work, I am not working on my job, so I am free to visit with them or watch their kids while they go out or help them run errands because some of them don’t drive and want me to take them where they need to go. Then I can’t get my work done on time or sometimes not at all if it has to be done at a certain time.

  Queenie, how can I make them understand?—Home-worker


Dear Home-worker,

  You have to learn to say “no” to requests for help, and to repeat it as often and emphatically as necessary to make the other person understand. A (brief) explanation that you are working at your job and that it must be done at a certain time might help.

  When you are working it might also help to screen your phone calls and put a “Please do not disturb” sign on your door saying that you are at work, especially if you include a note suggesting when they can come back and find you free to visit/run errands/watch their children.

  And keep that door locked so unwanted visitors cannot just barge in on you if you do not respond to their knocking and/or ringing the doorbell.