All along the time management spectrum, lazy bums and workaholics are working from home offices. Every person has some of both types of person in their heart. The trick to working from home is to define the goals that will be reached through the work. Some people must earn a certain amount of money each day to be able to pay for monthly obligations. Other people have to make a certain number of contacts each day to keep the work pipeline full. Regardless of the motivation to work from a home office, there are some specific actions that must be taken to balance life and work.
Working for someone else comes with an expectation of availability to the business certain hours each day during five days each week. Self-employment begins with a sense of freedom and grows into a never-ending sense that the work is never done. Work hours must be observed in the home office in a similar fashion, but flexibility is the key.
Many home-based workers have a separate room that can be closed off when work is not being conducted. The action required to open the door at the beginning of the day has a psychological effect on the worker. At the end of the day, closing the door communicates that the day is complete.
Unsavory tasks exist in the home office, and a reward system will provide some motivation to do those tasks that must be completed. Free time, lunch dates or sweet treats can be used to reward focus on the task at hand. Use of rewards is an important part of creating a motivating atmosphere for the person who must work alone in a home office.
Every office has needs for supplies, cleaning and organizing that can consume multiple hours during each day. All of these maintenance tasks can be grouped into a 2-4 hour period at the beginning or the end of the week. Desk surfaces should be cleared and all papers should be filed or shredded. Financial tasks can be included in this time to maintain bill paying and banking tasks.
Other people in the home can meet the social needs of the home-based professional. The other side of the coin is that distractions will abound in a house that is full of active young people. Work can be completed after everyone is in bed if that is necessary, but respect for the wage earner must be taught to make the situation work.
Constant availability will lead to burnout for anyone. Each day should contain a healthy balance of work and play. When other people infringe on the work hours and begin to drain energy and resources, take a step back and be unavailable until the message is received.
Prior to closing the door for the final time at the end of the day, select the starting task for the following day. Many people struggle to figure out a good starting point at the beginning of the day. Procrastinators should practice this without fail to prevent losing precious morning hours to indecisiveness.
Individual work style is an important factor when establishing a productive home office environment. Some people enjoy working in the midst of a flurry of activity that is created by the family. Others require peace and quiet that only nighttime hours can provide. Results should be evaluated against the methods to prevent frustration. If the work can be completed in a couple of hours each day and the results are present, how and when the work is done should not be critiqued.
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