When Worlds Collide
© 2002 Elena Fawkner
For many people, working from home sounds like an ideal arrangement. You don't have to waste time commuting to and from office, you can be home for your children when they come home from school, you don't have to answer to anyone but yourself and you can work hours that suit YOU, not your boss. All very well in theory.
On other side of coin, though, are challenges of working from home. Working your own hours all too often means working all hours if you don't set a workday schedule, while rowdy children can become an almighty challenge when you need to present a professional image to prospective client you're speaking with on telephone.
The fundamental key to a successful transition to a home- based business is to keep your business and personal lives as separate as possible. Decide up front how many (and which) hours of day you're going to allocate to your business and stick to this schedule. What you don't get done during today's business hours can and should wait until tomorrow. Don't succumb to temptation of allowing your business to encroach on your personal and family time.
One effective way to keep your business and personal lives separate is to have separate areas of house for each. If at all possible, allocate a room of your house or apartment exclusively as your business office. Make sure that all members of your family understand that when you're in that room, you're working and not available except in an emergency. Likewise, don't use that room for any non-work activity such as a TV room (this is also an important point if you intend to claim your home office as a tax deduction).
By strictly separating areas in this way, you'll reinforce in your mind (and minds of other family members) that your office is a place of business and is to be treated as such. Just as your family will learn to respect these boundaries, it will also help you to "switch off" at end of your work day if you can literally shut door of your office and return "home" to your family.
There is one temptation that, if indulged, can easily blur line between your business and personal lives. That's attending to non-business tasks during hours you have allocated to business. Avoid leaving your office to run a load of laundry, unload dishwasher, clean bathroom or organize kitchen cabinets ... any of myriad of things that can assume an almost overwhelming urgency in face of that business task you're putting off starting. These sorts of distractions will only serve to keep you in your office much longer than necessary.