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Based on My 14 Years of Working from Home...

Work hard and work smart, that's the only way you can survive working from home.

Some would say that the above statement says it all...but it is barely scraping the surface of what really 'working from home' really is all about. TIME magazine wrote an article about 10 things to remember if/when working from home and do you know I almost gave myself a whiplash while reading it?

Here's the article - 10 Essential Habits for Working at Home

Working from home or at home is, honestly speaking, a luxury. You don't have to contend with so many things that people in the corporate world have to deal with. However, even with that said, it can become a trap. One day, you might find yourself confused with a boundariless world where it is a mish-mash of 'work is everything' and 'home is everything'. You walk into the kitchen, you find yourself wondering, 'So, am I still working now or am I officially off work?'

(Image source: SXC.hu)

1. Designated work area

I don't think it is all that important to have a 'home office', so to speak, because not everyone can afford a huge home with extra bedrooms.

I think it is more of a concept of NOT working somewhere you are comfortable with. Example? Bedroom. I never work in my bedroom. NEVER. Per chance I 'chance upon' an email that needs my IMMEDIATE attention, I will walk out of the bedroom, settle down on my table right outside my bedroom and do the minor work there.

I close all browsers (how anal am I about this? I use Firefox for personal use and Chrome for work - the line is drawn. I don't mix them up. I protect this right with my life), walk back into my bedroom and sleep. Or watch some fun videos.

So, if you do not have the luxury of having an extra bedroom or a table large enough to fit into a small apartment, reverse the rule by deciding on ONE space you promise not to work from. That's your ZEN ZONE, baybae. Protect it.

2. Dress for the job

It's true. Don't work in your pajamas. It's all a lie about walking around in your house, dressed in your comfy PJs and bunny slippers. Don't go there if you are working from home long term.

You are going to face the dreaded 'Am I still working now or am I off work?' Over the years, I have written about how I wish there was an office that I could actually LEAVE.

I work in my jeans and 'outside' clothes all the time and as long as I am working, I will not change back into my 'home clothes'. That is why some friends or neighbors visit me and wonder how come I am all dressed up 'uncomfortably' when I am working from home during week days.

I don't need makeup so, I don't if I am not going out but I make sure to remind myself with the clothes that I am wearing that I am working. Seriously, try this. Once the 'work day is over', change into your bunny slippers and fly into your bed....THAT is when you are off work.

(Image source: IStockPhoto)

3. Set hours and stick to them?

It is really easier said than done but...nevertheless....stick to it. Unless you imagine that there is overtime or that you are going to stay in the 'office' (mode) because something critically urgent has cropped up.

There is a lot of imagining to be done when you want to work from home long term.

4. Take breaks

I can't even begin to tell you how important this is. Take. Breaks. I work in rapid bursts of speed, actually. In the beginning, I thought that it was working just great when I work from 9-1 and then 3-6. During those moments, I would be completely stationery, motionless, completely focused, robotic and unbending when it comes to other things.

Nu-uh.

Not sure if it will work for everyone too but I set a timer. (whisper: actually, I set a timer for almost everything. From meditation to boiling water to working that stationery bike...so yeah....) I work for 15 minutes and then get up to work on kitchen stuff or to read from something that doesn't have a light shining into my face. OK, fine, those short breaks is when you will find me on G+ or Twitter too.

But you get it. Take breaks.

5. No interaction unless it is SOS level of urgency

And finally, this. My kids know not to mess with me when I have that 'I am working and if I stop now and find out that you interrupted me for something that could've waited for another 5 minutes, things are going to be ugly' face.

The point is to actually let them know that you will get back to them AND ACTUALLY GET BACK TO THEM. So, if my son is lingering around me, waiting to pounce at me with one of his magnanimously urgent need to buy something with my card on his computer, I tell him to wait a bit more and he does.

You'll just have to work your stuff with younger kids, they are tougher. I guess it is a matter of helping them understand what is the right time to approach you and when you make a promise, keep it.

Sunday over, back to work tomorrow...

Hope you had a great weekend,
Love,
Marsha
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