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Use Boundaries To Stay Sane Working From Home

Whether you telecommute a few days a week or work from home full time, working from home isn’t the walk in the park office workers sometimes envision it to be.

Photo by Philo Nordlund.

You can love or hate working in a traditional office and clocking a 9-5, but doing so provides clear-cut boundaries to your day. Work is a place you go to with a distinct culture, set of rules and physical space. Everything from the scowling security guard to the smell of cheap burning coffee wafting from the break room works together to tell your brain that you’re at work and it’s time to get stuff done.

Lynn Truong, writing for productivity blog Awake@TheWheel, highlights the importance of establishing cues and routines when working from home. To a traditional office worker, her suggestions might seem absurd, such as this one:

Set office hours. It doesn’t have to resemble normal business hours. It can start at 2am and end at noon. It can be in 2 hour blocks with 1 hour breaks to attend to the kids. It can change on a daily basis. But having a schedule with your set office hours will let your family know when you’re working and when you’re available for them. This will also ensure that you schedule in your family every day, too. It’s hard to believe, but if you don’t, you may forget. Take advantage of your flexible schedule to take a few hours off to bring the kids to the beach on a weekday, when it’s less crowded. Make a to do list with your family, so you can plan and look forward to hanging out with them as much as your conference calls and deadlines.

For someone who works from their home—and I speak from experience—it is all too easy to let your work slowly creep until you’re doing work-related things nearly every hour of the day. One of the most powerful things I did to boost my productivity was set very hard boundaries for when I actually worked. Forcing myself frame my work within concrete units of time instead of viewing my work at home as being depressingly open-ended both boosted my output and happiness.

For more tips on maintaining your sanity while working from home check out the full article below. If you have your own tips for keeping balanced while working from home, share them in the comments below. Working From Home: 10 Unconscious Cues to Create a Work-Life Balance [via The Simple Dollar ]