So, you work from home. Good for you! No boss looking
over your shoulder, no wasting time commuting to and from
the office, no-one setting your hours for you or telling you
what to do. No one to care if you’re wearing your rattiest
clothes or don’t take a shower before 10:00 am. And how
about no life and no time for yourself while we’re on the
subject of what you don’t have any more? Sound familiar?
If so, read on.
Escaping the regimented structure imposed upon you by
the corporate world may have been one of the driving
forces that prompted you to seek a way to work from home
in the first place. One of the often-overlooked advantages
of such a structure, though, is that it *is* a structure. It
has limits, it places you at a certain place at a certain time,
and it dictates what you will spend your time on.
In other words, it establishes boundaries in your life. The
boundary between work and home, work and play, on duty
and off duty, company time and your time. You could leave
work at the end of the day and your time was your own.
Sure, you may have had other obligations but at least your
work was confined within the boundaries of a workplace and a
workday. Working from home, for all its advantages, can
sometimes have the disadvantage of removing the boundaries
between work and home, work and play, work time and your
time. For some, the problem may manifest itself as a tendency
to procrastinate when it comes to work activities or a lack of
personal self-discipline may become unavoidably obvious. For
such people, the formalized structure of a workplace separate
from the home may suit them better than the independence
and autonomy of a home business.
This article, though, is concerned with those at the other end
of the spectrum. Those who have absolutely no difficulty at all
in motivating and disciplining themselves to work from home.
So much so that their home business literally takes over their
In my time online, I’ve heard many people say that they sit at
their computers for 18 hours a day working on their businesses.
Oftentimes, they will still be working at 3:00 am and then go to
bed for four hours or so before getting back in the saddle.
They say this as if it is something to be proud of. I don’t know
about you, but working from home, when and if I am finally able
to achieve it on a full-time basis, will be first and foremost a
By that I mean I expect my decision to work from home will
result in an enhancement of my lifestyle in that I won’t have
to commute the best part of an hour to get to and from work
each day, if I want to start at 5:00 am and finish for the day
at noon I can do that. If I want to work all weekend and take
two days off during the week I can do that too. I can choose
the projects I want to work on, I can retain the rewards of
my own efforts and I am answerable to no-one but myself.
Although I understand that I will work as hard or harder at
home than I do at the office, I certainly have no intention of
merely exchanging one form of prison for another.
So, it perplexes me that some people seem to think it is a
Good Thing to shackle themselves to a desk for 18 hours
straight and break only to snatch a few hours sleep before
starting all over again. But, if that’s how they want to live
their lives, that’s entirely their business.
But what of those who want more balance in their lives but
find they simply can’t ‘flip the switch’ on their home business
so that home becomes a retreat again once the workday is
over? If this is you, here are six suggestions to help you turn
off your business and turn on your life.
1. Confine business activities to an exclusively “work” room
If possible, confine your business activities to a certain area
of the house, preferably a room that is exclusively used by
you as your place of work. The advantage of a room as opposed
to an unused corner of the living room is that when work is done
for the day you can literally and symbolically shut the door on it.
Out of sight, out of mind. If you don’t cordon off your work area
in this way, you will be reminded of work whenever you enter
the living room. Even though you may not be physically engaged
in work, you will still be mentally engaged and that’s the same
2. Separate communications systems
Have separate communications systems for home and work.
That is, you have one telephone for home and one for work. The
same for fax machines, cell phones and email accounts. When
you’re working, you should have your home answering machine
on. When you’re home, you should have your work answering
3. Establish a routine and structure similar to the workplace
As stated earlier, the structure and routine of an external
workplace has the advantage of allowing you to leave work
behind at the end of the day. By establishing a routine and
structure similar to a place of work, you can still benefit from
this advantage. Now obviously you don’t have to be as
regimented as you would be if you worked in a corporate
You don’t have to start at 9:00 am, work till noon, take a
one hour lunch break and then work through until 5:00 pm.
You can set whatever routine and structure you like. The
important thing is to be disciplined in sticking to your routine,
whatever you decide it is. If you prefer to work from 5:00 am
through 10:00 am and then from 2:00 pm through 4:00 pm
that’s fine. This structure allows you to enjoy the hours from
10:00 am through 2:00 and after 4:00 pm as your own. There
is room for flexibility here. Work however is most productive
for you but stop once you get to the end of your allotted
work time. If you haven’t finished what you started, pick it
up again in work time. Don’t allow ‘your’ time to be encroached
on by work. Trovare professionisti