Setting work boundaries for the home office

- April 30, 2009 2 MIN READ

Many of us find it a challenge to close the door at the end of the day. Our home office draws us to finish that invoice, put the finishing touches to a project or make that last phone call… even if it is Sunday.

Here are some important points to help you manage your time and set work boundaries:

1. Availability

It is very tempting, especially in starting a business and securing new clients, to want to be available to everyone, anytime, any day. As a soloist, this can get tiring very quickly.

It’s important to think carefully about the operating hours of your business and once they’re set, be sure to stick to them. You may choose to be available longer hours to gain the edge on your competitors, but will need to ask whether this is a sustainable lifestyle. The most important thing is to ensure that your work is consistently of the highest quality within your operating hours.

2. Introduce new disciplines

It is impractical to say the soloist won’t have to pull the odd overnighter or have seasons of overtime. Although working to tight deadlines can be all consuming, it’s important to factor in some break time for your own peace of mind. Sometimes it can take a great amount of discipline to drag yourself away but it’s amazing what a midday walk or a coffee break can do for your productivity.

Want more articles like this? Check out the working from home section.

Aside from giving yourself breaks, it’s also a good idea to implement daily disciplines to help manage your work life balance. Exercise is definitely important but make sure it’s something that you enjoy doing otherwise it’s unlikely you will stick to it.

I love going on morning walks and being outside as my job involves long hours inside working on the computer in my home office. So being outside for some fresh air is a great way to start my day with a clear head. For others, doing a Pump class or running on the treadmill might be the way to go.

3. Reward yourself

As a soloist, there is no boss to give you affirmation so it’s important to give yourself a pat on the back every now and then. No company bonuses or corporate incentives means you get to create your own. Make sure your incentives are always positive. Positive incentives will always be far more effective in keeping you motivated than negative ones. You can’t stay motivated with the incentive of just not going out of business. If you hit your financial goal this month, take yourself out for a massage or book a weekend away.

Smaller incentives during the week help, too. Occasionally I set myself a list of work and aim to finish by a certain time in the evening so I can spend guilt-free time watching television. Setting yourself intermittent goal rewards helps you to be refreshed on a regular basis which helps prevent feeling rundown or overwhelmed.

Other than locking the office door and hiding the key from yourself, what are some strategies that you implement to keep your work boundaries in place?


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  • Andrew Caska

    Caska IP Patent Attorneys

    'Flying Solo opened up so many doors for us - I honestly don't know where I'd be without it"