Flipping The Switch

Nov 17 22:00 2002 Elena Fawkner Print This Article

So, you work from home. Good for you! No boss looking over your ... no wasting time ... to and from the office, no-one setting your hours for you or telling you what to do. No one to care

So,Guest Posting you work from home. Good for you! No boss looking
over your shoulder, no wasting time commuting to and from
the office, no-one setting your hours for you or telling you
what to do. No one to care if you're wearing your rattiest
clothes or don't take a shower before 10:00 am. And how
about no life and no time for yourself while we're on the
subject of what you don't have any more? Sound familiar?
If so, read on.

Escaping the regimented structure imposed upon you by
the corporate world may have been one of the driving
forces that prompted you to seek a way to work from home
in the first place. One of the often-overlooked advantages
of such a structure, though, is that it *is* a structure. It
has limits, it places you at a certain place at a certain time,
and it dictates what you will spend your time on.

In other words, it establishes boundaries in your life. The
boundary between work and home, work and play, on duty
and off duty, company time and your time. You could leave
work at the end of the day and your time was your own.

Sure, you may have had other obligations but at least your
work was confined within the boundaries of a workplace and a
workday. Working from home, for all its advantages, can
sometimes have the disadvantage of removing the boundaries
between work and home, work and play, work time and your
time. For some, the problem may manifest itself as a tendency
to procrastinate when it comes to work activities or a lack of
personal self-discipline may become unavoidably obvious. For
such people, the formalized structure of a workplace separate
from the home may suit them better than the independence
and autonomy of a home business.

This article, though, is concerned with those at the other end
of the spectrum. Those who have absolutely no difficulty at all
in motivating and disciplining themselves to work from home.
So much so that their home business literally takes over their
entire lives.

In my time online, I've heard many people say that they sit at
their computers for 18 hours a day working on their businesses.
Oftentimes, they will still be working at 3:00 am and then go to
bed for four hours or so before getting back in the saddle.
They say this as if it is something to be proud of. I don't know
about you, but working from home, when and if I am finally able
to achieve it on a full-time basis, will be first and foremost a
lifestyle choice.

By that I mean I expect my decision to work from home will
result in an enhancement of my lifestyle in that I won't have
to commute the best part of an hour to get to and from work
each day, if I want to start at 5:00 am and finish for the day
at noon I can do that. If I want to work all weekend and take
two days off during the week I can do that too. I can choose
the projects I want to work on, I can retain the rewards of
my own efforts and I am answerable to no-one but myself.
Although I understand that I will work as hard or harder at
home than I do at the office, I certainly have no intention of
merely exchanging one form of prison for another.

So, it perplexes me that some people seem to think it is a
Good Thing to shackle themselves to a desk for 18 hours
straight and break only to snatch a few hours sleep before
starting all over again. But, if that's how they want to live
their lives, that's entirely their business.

But what of those who want more balance in their lives but
find they simply can't 'flip the switch' on their home business
so that home becomes a retreat again once the workday is
over? If this is you, here are six suggestions to help you turn
off your business and turn on your life.

1. Confine business activities to an exclusively "work" room

If possible, confine your business activities to a certain area
of the house, preferably a room that is exclusively used by
you as your place of work. The advantage of a room as opposed
to an unused corner of the living room is that when work is done
for the day you can literally and symbolically shut the door on it.
Out of sight, out of mind. If you don't cordon off your work area
in this way, you will be reminded of work whenever you enter
the living room. Even though you may not be physically engaged
in work, you will still be mentally engaged and that's the same
thing.

2. Separate communications systems

Have separate communications systems for home and work.
That is, you have one telephone for home and one for work. The
same for fax machines, cell phones and email accounts. When
you're working, you should have your home answering machine
on. When you're home, you should have your work answering
machine on.

3. Establish a routine and structure similar to the workplace

As stated earlier, the structure and routine of an external
workplace has the advantage of allowing you to leave work
behind at the end of the day. By establishing a routine and
structure similar to a place of work, you can still benefit from
this advantage. Now obviously you don't have to be as
regimented as you would be if you worked in a corporate
office.

You don't have to start at 9:00 am, work till noon, take a
one hour lunch break and then work through until 5:00 pm.
You can set whatever routine and structure you like. The
important thing is to be disciplined in sticking to your routine,
whatever you decide it is. If you prefer to work from 5:00 am
through 10:00 am and then from 2:00 pm through 4:00 pm
that's fine. This structure allows you to enjoy the hours from
10:00 am through 2:00 and after 4:00 pm as your own. There
is room for flexibility here. Work however is most productive
for you but stop once you get to the end of your allotted
work time. If you haven't finished what you started, pick it
up again in work time. Don't allow 'your' time to be encroached
on by work.

4. Minimize distractions and interruptions

By implementing suggestions 1., 2. and 3., you will also be
establishing an environment where distractions and interruptions
are minimized and discouraged. For example, if you have
school-age children, by scheduling your work time to coincide
with their school time, you will minimize the distractions and
interruptions you will inevitably face if you try and work while
they're at home.

By having separate communications systems, you won't be
interrupted with calls on your home phone while working (your
answering machine should be getting these calls so you can
return them on "your" time).

By having an exclusively "work" area in your home, and making
sure that other members of your household respect this space
for what it is, you can help others remember that when you're
in your room you're working and are not to be interrupted for
things that can wait until you're "home" again.

5. Rituals

Rituals can play a useful role in flipping the switch at the end
of the workday. For example, you may already have a routine
that sees you working until 6:00 pm, the time your partner
returns home from work. Perhaps you share a glass of wine
together at that time. Why not think of your shared glass of
wine as an "end of workday" ritual. By making a habit of doing
this, your mind will soon learn to associate that glass of wine
with the end of the workday and flip the switch on work in
automatic response.

Another idea is to wear a certain item of clothing while working
so that, when you take it off at the end of the work day, your
mind makes the connection between its removal and the end
of work time. A baseball cap, a particular pair of shoes,
whatever it is doesn't matter.

6. Plan to take days off and vacations

Finally, when establishing your routine and work schedule,
don't forget to schedule days off and vacations. And make
sure you take them. You may decide to take Saturdays and
Sundays off, or your "weekends" might be Tuesdays and
Wednesdays or Mondays and Fridays. Whatever works in
best with your lifestyle, do it.

The same goes for vacations. Don't underestimate the
rejuvenating effect of taking a week off entirely. Not only is
it good for your overall health and mental wellbeing, you will
probably find that you are that much more productive when
it comes to getting back to work for having taken a true time
out.

Hopefully you can see that working from home does not have
to mean turning your home into a place of work. Working from
home as a lifestyle choice should mean that the quality of your
life is enhanced as a result of your decision, not diminished. By
practicing these simple disciplines day-in and day-out you can
be sure that even though you are taking care of business, you
are also taking care of something even more important. Life.

Source: Free Guest Posting Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

About Article Author

Elena Fawkner
Elena Fawkner

Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online ...
practical business ideas, opportunities and solutions for the
work-from-home entrepreneur.
http://www.ahbbo.com

View More Articles