Working from home offers unique challenges for most people. There are specific differences between running a business from home and pursuing a hobby. If you have a business with an address that matches your residence, how do you ever leave it?
Here are some great suggestions:
1. Try to carve out a space that has a door
Go to work every day, unless you’re ill. But leave every day, as well. If you can’t maintain an entire room for your business, at least try to have a dedicated corner, or a closet with a desk, chair and storage space. Don’t share. With anyone. Ever! Preferably, not even the dog.
2. Separate phone line
Maintain a separate phone line, even if it’s a cell phone; turn it off unless you’re actually working. Leave it on your desk overnight and on your days off. Anyone who needs you should have an alternate way to reach you in case of emergency.
3. Be in the Zone
Dress for work; it can be “casual Friday” every day, but leave the “jammies” in the bedroom, and save the shorts for weekends with the kids. Conversely, when you leave the office, put on your warm-ups, or your running shoes, your shorts and t-shirts, and relax in whatever way you do that best.
4. Post office hours
Seriously. At the end of the day, clear your desk, turn off the computer, turn off the lights and close the door if you have one. Leave the office!
5. Go out for lunch
Schedule meetings, meet business associates or friends, run errands, go for a run; but leave your workspace for a period of time each day. You’ll accomplish more when you return.
6. Meet a friend
Meet a friend for an “after-work” cocktail, early dinner or shopping excursion. Try not to use the excuse that you’ve “been working all day” as a reason not to have some fun. That leads to ineffective decision-making, depression, and decreased productivity the next day.
7. Refuse to do personal things
Politely refuse to do personal things for anyone “because you’re home anyway.” Always! Be gracious, though, in explaining what you can accomplish for them “after work.” And, then, follow through.
8. Separate calendars
Maintain separate calendars for work and personal scheduling. At least, color code your appointments. This is a biggie, according to time management specialists and professional organizers.
Each afternoon, evaluate your day, note completed assignments and write out your “To Do” list for the next day. It should be the first thing you see when you get to work the next morning.
10. Have breakfast at home
Don’t bring your laptop or your smart phone to the breakfast table. Don’t eat breakfast at your desk. Unless, of course, you go out for doughnuts “on your way to work,” but don’t make that a habit! Separate your lives!
11. Stick to a routine
If you have to work late occasionally (or go in early sometimes) so be it. But, you should not let it become a habit. Try to leave the office each day with a solid roster of accomplishment and completed projects. Then, clear your mind.
12. Catch up
Set aside some time, at least weekly, to catch up on filing, paperwork, emails, invitations, bills, all the routine things you tend to postpone for later. Also, neaten up your workspace. Never bring those tasks “home.”
13. Have a good dinner
No joke. Whether you prepare the meal, or just “come when called,” a regular meal will play a big part in your ability to leave the office and go home. Do not allow yourself to snack all day and skip dinner! By Thomas Milva
Thomas lives and works as an Information Security Analyst in Baton Rouge, though his family originates from Italy. He is 28 years old, adores outdoor activities and he spends most of his time working from home in the company of his dog Reggie and his two goldfish. When it comes to humans, his favorite one is his girlfriend, Clara.