So, you work from home. Good for you! No boss looking over your shoulder, no wasting time commuting to and from 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 subject of what you don't have any more? Sound familiar? If so, read on.
Escaping regimented structure imposed upon you by corporate world may have been one of driving forces that prompted you to seek a way to work from home in first place. One of 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 end of day and your time was your own.
Sure, you may have had other obligations but at least your work was confined within boundaries of a workplace and a workday. Working from home, for all its advantages, can sometimes have disadvantage of removing boundaries between work and home, work and play, work time and your time. For some, 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, formalized structure of a workplace separate from home may suit them better than independence and autonomy of a home business.
This article, though, is concerned with those at other end of 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 entire lives.
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 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 lifestyle choice.
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 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 day at noon I can do that. If I want to work all weekend and take two days off during week I can do that too. I can choose projects I want to work on, I can retain 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 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 switch' on their home business so that home becomes a retreat again once 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 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 living room is that when work is done for day you can literally and symbolically shut 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 living room. Even though you may not be physically engaged in work, you will still be mentally engaged and that's same thing.
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 machine on.