"Having a hard time balancing your work with your home life? You’re not alone."
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Contributing Author: Sari Holtz
Whether you work nearby or have a lengthy commute to work, traveling to your office is generally an annoying part of everyone’s day.
You can avoid this annoyance, however, if you work from home.
The benefits of working from home are numerous, such as saving a significant amount of time and money that would otherwise be required for the commute.
On the downside, there is one notable pitfall of working at home.
You are literally work ALL the time!
If you enjoy working at home but are having a hard time balancing your work with your home life, you’re not alone. Fortunately, it is possible to find the golden balance between working at home and living in your office.
Set Clear Boundaries with Yourself
One way to ensure that you enjoy your home as a place to relax and not just to work is to make clear boundaries between your personal and professional spaces.
Instead of keeping your desk in your bedroom or den, create a closed-off home office that will not require you to pass by your computer or stack of paperwork each time you need to grab a snack.
If you don’t have a separate room for your home office, consider cordoning off your desk with a Chinese screen or a curtain that can be hung during off hours. Although you’ll still know that your desk is there, you’ll feel less tempted to sneak a quick peek at your email if you can’t see it easily.
In addition to setting clear physical boundaries, it’s important to set mental boundaries as well. Consider what it would be like if you worked out of the house.
Would you be bound to a specific train routine?
Would you work from 9-5?
Most professionals, even those who are entirely devoted to their jobs, eventually leave the office and head home for the day. It’s critical to afford yourself the same luxury.
Although it’s nice to always get one more thing done, you may come to resent your job if you feel like you always need to be present, and eventually your productivity will suffer because you are resentful of working too much.
Set a Clear Schedule to Discipline Yourself
Working at home requires an unparalleled amount of discipline.
For some, it’s discipline to resist the urge to get up and wander around the house, tidying up or changing the laundry. For others, it’s the discipline to escape the office when the day is over or the children come home.
But if you think about it, all jobs require self-control in some way, whether it’s the restraint not to spend all day on Facebook, or to avoid wasting time around the water cooler.
Setting a daily schedule will empower you to get things done during the time you’ve set aside for yourself, and will give you the incentive you need not to shift your focus to other things.
Think about how your day might go in an ordinary office.
Would you take a coffee break? Would you be entitled to a lunch break?
Permit yourself to have small breaks during your work day, and to use them in a way that makes you feel comfortable.
Don’t drink coffee? Use those five minutes to clear off the kitchen table.
Don’t have coworkers to chat with? Allow yourself 5 minutes to call a friend during the day, or to pay your bills online.
Just because you’re working in solitude doesn’t mean you need to sit all day without taking breaks.
Cover of Judy Garland
When working at home, always remember that it’s ok to say no to work inquiries that arrive after hours if you so desire.
Your colleagues, clients or partners may hope that you work 24/7, but they don’t really expect you to – so you shouldn’t impose that on yourself either.
When you work at home you may never leave the office, but you also get to enjoy your time at home. And as Judy Garland taught us so well, there’s really no place like home.
About the Contributing Author:
Sari Holtz is a freelance writer and mother of five who has been working at home for seven years. She recently worked on the texts for PearlClasp.com, a high-end jewelry website that specializes in pearl restringing. When she’s not working, Sari enjoys playing Bananagrams and baking cookies with her children. She can be found on Twitter: @Pearlclasp.
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