As someone who has worked from an office in his house for nearly 15 years, I have the experience to help others find the discipline and configuration they need to enjoy the comfortable benefits of telecommuting that many companies are now feeling inclined to provide.
That’s not to say, however, that working from home doesn’t have its host of issues and challenges; this post provides one tip that could make that job with a daily pajama commute a happy memory – it’s one of the more important rules to telecommuting that you need to address.
The most important aspect of telecommuting from a home office is the office door and a solid end-of-day routine. There are times that telecommuters will feel the urge to return to work after sitting down to a family meal. Don’t blend your personal life with a business other than your own or you’ll look back with regret. If you are heading back to your office, spend that time on building your personal brand, a personal skill, or your personal business, not on daily grind. There will always be one-more-thing that work will demand of you. You need to budget and spend your time like you should be doing with your money.
Multitasking is dead. The trick to multitasking effectively is to not multitask. You break your day into blocks of time that are given to each of the projects individually. Consider personal growth time in the same way. Sometimes the two coincide (and it’s exhilarating when that symbiotic relationship is in full swing), but there still needs to be that separation for your family. This is another reason to have a separate place for personal growth, such as a laptop in the bedroom, so you’re not tempted to return to the office after hours, which inevitably leads to sitting back down to work several hours more while the family is pining for your company. This is the main reason I appreciate personal laptops and iPads and I keep mine out of the office. Better than that, I’ve grown a fondness to books over the past year because I can’t get pulled out of it as easily as I do when reading online.
A routine with feedback builds habit. By replacing your workaholic habit with one that gives priority to your beliefs and the ones you love, it makes you a better, smarter, healthier, guilt-free worker (during business hours) and a fantastic community helper, parent and spouse.
The times when the lines blur a little is when you’re running your own start-up business, in which case, as I’ve heard several entrepreneurs discuss, you’d be better off with pen and paper, discussing ideas in front of a coffee shop with highly talented people and friends than sitting in front of a computer in an isolated room.