If you ever work from home, whether it is just a day here and there or whether it is part of your permanent schedule, you know about the blur that occurs.
It happens when you could have sworn you were at your computer, but suddenly you’re doing your second load of laundry. When you realize it’s 10:00pm and you’re still working. When you draw the mailman into a twenty-minute conversation because it’s the only social interaction you’ve had all day.
Working from home requires careful time management skills to keep the blur between work and home life under control.
Many people find working from home to provide greater flexibility in their day, but that flexibility can be a detriment if not managed correctly. When personal tasks and work tasks become too mingled during the day, the work tasks have a tendency of taking over, thus turning your 8-hour work day into a 24-hour one. The following three strategies can help remove the blur from your life and keep work squarely in its place.
1) Designate your Work Space
When your work is spread out over the entire house then you’re never able to escape it. Designate one or two places in your home as “work spaces.” This way, you can feel like you actually leave work when you’re done for the day and won’t be tempted to just work from sun-up to down down. Remember: you work from home; you don’t want to live in your office.
2) Plan Time for Personal Tasks
It can be tempting to let personal tasks distract you when working from home. For example, you could be on your way to the bathroom and see a pile clutter of that needs to be put away, or a dish that needs washing. If you stop to take care of those things, pretty soon, you’re no longer working and instead you’re cleaning your house. This just makes your work day stretch on forever. Designate a separate time during the day to take care of these things so they don’t distract you while you’re working.
3) Make Time for Networking
Working from home can be extremely isolating. Invest some time in finding opportunities to network with other professional in your field. This allows you to find out how other people work and bounce ideas back and forth. You’ll never find better, faster or more efficient ways to do things if you never branch out and observe life outside your home office.
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Photo Credit: Sura Nualpradid