Right up there with religion and government, the appropriate degree of separation between home life and work life has been tossed back and forth like a worn out hacky sack.
I’m going to be a radical here and say that complete separation is best for everyone.
When I leave the office I am fully a mother, wife, and friend. When I am at work, I am 100% CEO. With this given division I can be the absolute best versions of myself in both situations. I work harder when at work because I am able to successfully recharge periodically.
What’s more challenging than keeping home and work life separate, is keeping home and work life separate when your work takes place inside your house.
Being that disconnection is crucial to your productivity, here are six tips on how to separate your work life from your home life:
1. Schedule downtime
If you’re like me, you could go, go, go from sunrise to sundown without so much as taking five minutes to read the paper or enjoy a meal sitting down (so seems to be the case with most entrepreneurs). Though, I have found that if I keep up this schedule, within two weeks or so I’ll feel as if I’ve hit a brick wall. I become exhausted and scattered with little warning.
But If I force myself to schedule in little bits of downtime throughout the week, I never hit that wall. Even if I go walk to get myself a cup of coffee at the nearest coffee shop after I get through my morning emails a couple of times a week, I feel so at peace just from getting outside and taking a minute with myself to think.
2. Create separate areas
When your office and your living room are the same things, the lines between work and life are especially blurred. Even if you don’t have the room for an entire office in the house, try and keep your “working space” separate from everything else. Don’t watch TV, eat big meals, or anything else not work-related in the area you have designated for working. This way, when you sit down to work, your body and mind already know that this is a place for business, not leisure!
3. Take breaks
Try and stray away from warming up last night’s leftovers and semi-multitasking through some duties while twirling your spaghetti. Take a lunch break. Walk to the kitchen, warm something up, and sit down at your kitchen table to enjoy yourself. Better yet, take your lunch outside and experience your well-earned break in the sunshine. Perhaps once a week you can treat yourself to a leisurely walk to the closest eating establishment. Get creative, just don’t intermingle your break time with your work time.
4. A little exercise goes a long way
According to WebMD, getting a little exercise can make you more productive throughout the day. Even though you probably feel like you’re short on time and energy as it is, it may be worth it to wake up that extra hour early to exercise. WebMD recounts one specific woman’s experience with working out a couple times during the workweek, “It’s been a real boost in terms of the way I feel for the rest of the day. I feel like my head is clearer and I’ve had a little time to myself.”
5. Hold onto your weekends
Ask any new entrepreneur and they’ll laugh at the notion of a weekend. When you’re first trying to get your business up and running, most small business owners kiss their weekends' goodbye. Though, once they get into the swing of things, those weekends should come back! Unfortunately, most small business owners get so accustomed to never taking a day off, they continue to work that way. Of course, you should peek at your email a couple of times over the course of two days, but resting can be just as important as working in terms of business health.
6. Look the part
You have come this far with your business, you have earned the right to dress to impress. It is so easy to slip into a cycle of waking up, munching on a bowl of Cheerios while remaining comfortable in your favorite pair of flannel jammies, then just beginning to look over the day's duties. That turns into just performing a few of the day’s first tasks while in the jammies, followed by completing days upon weeks of work all while in the same pair of jammies!
Sporting heels and a blazer is not pertinent for everyday tasks, but a nice pair of dark jeans with an ironed button-down can do wonders for your attitude when performing those quotidian business duties. If a client comes by the ‘office,’ go ahead and whip out a pencil skirt.
Separating work life and home life when you work from home is a challenge, but by incorporating these rules and habits to your daily routine you can be more productive while enjoying all the perks that working from home offers.
How do you separate work life from home life as a work-at-home mom? Drop us a note; we'd love to hear from you!
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Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Twitter @mycorporation.