Working from home offers a great opportunity for you to start your own business, be your own boss, and keep your kids at home (rather than consigning them to the random shuffle of caretakers provided by any given daycare facility). But splitting your time and your space between work and family obligations can quickly become overwhelming, and the line you draw between the two can easily become blurred when your work space is part of your home. If your office is prone to spilling out into the rest of the house, you could be creating a situation that turns your entire home into your office, effectively pushing your family out (and making you feel like you’re always at work). In order to avoid this unfortunate turn of events, you need to take a good look at the boundaries you’re setting (or ignoring) and find a way to keep your work and your family life separate.
The first way to compartmentalize your work within your home is to create a home office (if you don’t already have one). Allocate a room to house your business paraphernalia, or if you don’t have the extra space, section off a portion of another room by putting up a screen to hide your desk from view. You can also get a roll-top desk to hide your laptop and paperwork when you’re off the clock, as well as a storage cabinet for other work-related detritus. Taking these measures to physically erase the signs of your job within the home will help you to leave your business behind closed doors (or a desk) when you’re done toiling for the day. It will also keep clutter out of your family space.
The next step is to create a mental separation between your office and your home. If you’re thinking about work (or actually working) when you’re spending time with your family (or vice versa), you’re not devoting your full attention to either, which means you’re probably going to make mistakes with both. The people you love deserve your undivided attention when you’re with them or their feelings will be hurt. And you shouldn’t try to focus on other matters while you’re on the job or your output will almost certainly suffer. Either way, you stand only to lose on both fronts.
The trick is to implement a scheduling system that allows you to break your day into manageable chunks that allow for work time and family time. You might have to make some arrangements with your spouse (especially if you have kids) so that you can deal with home obligations during the day and have your nights (or mornings) free to get some work done. You should consider whether you are more of a morning person (meaning you should set your alarm to get up early) or a night owl (allowing you to make some headway on your work when everyone goes to bed). This will have a marked effect on your schedule. Or if your kids are school age, you can probably get a lot done during the day and then devote the evenings to your family.
Whatever schedule you set, it has to fit your lifestyle and your time constraints, so think about how you can make it work best for you. By separating not only the space you use for work from that you use for family, but also making the decision not to dwell on one while you’re engaged with the other, you can easily split your focus (and your time) between your office and your home, even though both happen to be in the same place.
Leon Harris writes for Pennsylvania Precision Cast Parts, a leading medal casting manufacturer specializing in investment castings. At PPCP you are sure to find the highest quality products at a rapid turnaround.