Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How to Clock-Out When You Work From Home

One of the benefits of working from home, is that, well, you don't have to leave home.  Because of this, your "real life," the one that you work for income to support, becomes entangled with your work life.  When you take a break from writing a brief, you throw in a load of laundry.  The patio you have cocktails on with your girlfriends is also where you check emails.  While loading the dishwasher (if you are blessed to have one), you think about the next thing on your list.  Once enough time passes, you can associate almost every room in your home with something related to a work assignment.  This makes it difficult to mentally partition your work life from your real life.

Here are some tips to help you clock out appropriately.

1.  Designate a no-work space, your bedroom, a back patio, wherever you want to go to relax away from work.  Absolutely, positively do not work in this space.  If you start thinking about work there, say "ALL DONE", loudly in your head every time.  By training yourself to not think about work in one part of the house, you can begin to apply that skill to other parts of the house when you're not working.  Start small, focus on the one area and go from there.

2.  Create a work schedule based on when you are most productive.  Stick to that schedule as closely as possible.  Like a toddler and bedtime, routine is key.  If you need to deviate from the schedule, mark on your calendar when you will make up the time.  Include breaks for meals and fresh air.  If you find yourself drifting into household stuff, use a line my uncle taught me that helped him and me get through law school "Now is not the time for ...  It's time to..."

3.  Create an end of work ritual.  Like a line worker who clocks out or a commuter pulling out of the parking structure, having a ritual that makes you feel done for the day, at least with your work duties, will allow you to shift more smoothly into real life mode.  Shutting down your work computer, physically putting away your pile of papers, going for a walk, having an iced tea on the lanai, whatever you choose, do it consistently for 3 weeks. 

Hope these tips help you.  Do you have any others?

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