Use Two Computers To Keep Your Work And Home Life Separate

Use Two Computers To Keep Your Work And Home Life Separate

It’s hard for a lot of us to separate our work and home lives under the best of circumstances. When you work from home it’s even more difficult, but blogger Pat Flynn found a method that works for him.

Photo by Brad.L.Owens.

When Flynn realised the line between his work and home life was becoming increasingly blurred, he took several steps toward separating them. The most drastic was buying a second computer and dedicating it solely to his personal email, instant messaging and non-work related surfing.

The computer in my office (an iMac) is where I did everything, including all of those personal things. It was hard for me personally to keep those things totally separate. By buying a laptop that is specifically just for personal, non-work related items, I can more easily focus on work when I’m supposed to work, and not be tempted to work when I’m doing personal stuff. Furthermore, because the laptop is portable, I can literally separate work from non-work stuff by keeping the office and the computer in it off limits during non-work hours.

While most of us won’t want to take such an expensive step to keep our work and personal lives compartmentalised, there are a few less drastic measures you can take. For instance, you can make different user identities for your computer, or use a set up work-only and play-only Firefox profiles to get the job done.

Have your own ideas for keeping your work and home life from colliding? Share them in the comments.

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  • I find even using two screens helps dramatically. More for the time management aspect of being sidetracked by personal emails and stuff.

    Say for example you have your email, instant messaging, etc setup on one screen (without audible new email/message announcements), which lets you get rid of the constant interruptions whilst you work away on the other screen.

    Then, on a break or after you’ve done a block of say 90mins concentrating, you can check/clear emails etc on the other screen.


  • I use a WD USB hard drive which came with DSync software.

    This software provide the ability to store multiple profiles (i.e. home and work) of syncronised, encrypted data.

    The really cool things are:
    – it makes all your documents portable
    – it has a built in e-mail and calendar client which will work with exchange or your POP account
    – IE or Firefox favourites are synchronised
    – Desktop wallpapers are synchronised

    When you plug into a foreign machine the software will give you the option of setting up a secure browsing session on the host PC as well as connecting to your e-mail and serving up your files.

    For the work I do where I am often using machines at clients sites, this is brilliant.

  • I have to say one thing that has worked really well for me is just dual booting my personal laptop.

    I have a work install that I can boot into with all the work junk and a personal install that I use at home. Has been working really well for quite some time now.

    Does mean you need to have double licenses of everything but still far less than owning two laptops.

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