It's not always easy to create harmony when work life and home life are both under one roof. Here are some simple ideas to begin to lay a foundation for blending the two parts of life into a balanced synergy.
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Work At Home – Creating Harmony In Your Home Office
The advantages of being able to work at home appeal to all of us.
A short list includes tax breaks, reduced gas and parking expenses, and no dry cleaning bill. There are also all the perks that can’t be measured in dollars (but often hold even more appeal): the time to volunteer as a class parent, being able to schedule personal appointments during business hours, and wearing pajama bottoms with your tie and jacket while on a video conference call.
But bringing your business home also has it’s challenges. It’s not always easy to create harmony when work life and home life are both under one roof. While everyone’s situation has unique demands, these three simple ideas can begin to lay the foundation for blending the two parts of any life into a balanced whole.
The location of your home office can have an enormous impact on both your productivity while working and your enjoyment of the time that you are not. Too often, home furnishings are pushed aside and office basics are force-fit into the vacated space. The form and function of both areas suffer from the lack of planning and intention in this approach.
“But I don’t have a choice!” Tight quarters (or a tight budget) can certainly make it feel like the only option is to grab the extra chair from the garage, take over a corner of the dining room table and squeeze your working files into the china hutch. Even if you intend it to be temporary, the short term space and dollar savings of this setup will be overshadowed by the loss of work productivity and the encroachment on your home life.
Whether you have a separate room to turn into a home office or really do have to fit it into a corner of the dining room, with some planning and research you can find ways to make these two parts of your life co-exist in peace. Commit to defining and respecting the needs of your home and your office; you’ll find that there are well-designed furnishings, creative organizational tips and practical storage solutions that will help you achieve a happy work-home balance.
It’s important to physically honor the separation of the two parts of your life. If your home office is in its own room, you may be inclined to skip this section… please don’t!
When work is outside the home, we don’t consider for a moment using our office to store out-of-season sports equipment, hide our spouse’s anniversary gift, or stack the 14 cases of pasta left over from the fundraiser we volunteered at. We also don’t take the stapler home with us, use up all the colored ink printing photos of vacation rental properties, or break the flatbed scanner by putting an overloaded laundry basket on top.
“It’s not the same!” No, it isn’t. Yes – it’s OK, and sometimes necessary, to use your home office space for personal storage. And yes, sometimes you really do need office supplies for personal use. The key is planning for these needs, and not short changing yourself by letting the two areas overlap unintentionally.
Keep them separate, even when they share space. Set up storage solutions for any personal items that need to be placed in your home office. Buy duplicate office supplies for family use, and keep them in a designated area. Close the door on your home office when not in use. If it’s not in a separate room, consider an office armoire style desk that really does have doors that you can close. For more traditional desk styles, make sure that all work and supplies are off the desktop and replaced in appropriate drawers or shelves when your “work day” is done.
A real risk of working at home is that you may never stop working. Even if you’re not sitting at your desk 24/7, hopping on your computer to handle “just one more” client email or letting your preoccupation with an unfinished project distract you during a family dinner can be a real danger once you set up a home office.
Create an environment where you can be completely present and productive while you work, and then force yourself to set a specific time when you call it a night. Prioritizing what you intend to accomplish and disciplining yourself to focus on this list first will help you feel complete at the end of the day.
Each morning, think of your home office as an empty jar. By the end of the day, your jar will be full. If you start by filling it with gravel and sand (low priority tasks or unimportant busywork) you may find that you run out of room before you get a chance to add any big rocks. The big rocks are your priorities – the tasks that will make you feel you’ve really accomplished something once they’re complete. Put these big rocks in first each day and you’ll have a much easier time “closing the door” on your office – mentally and physically – when you decide to call it quits.
You can create harmony in your life when you work at home. Start by making sure that your home and work life remain separate, so that they can live together in peace. Focus on what’s important, and stay present with whatever you do.
About the Author: Lloyd Burrell finds it easy to create harmony at home with the help of his DMi office armoire desk. When not practicing guitar, he edits the Internet’s leading desk review site from his well organized home office. When his work day is done, Lloyd enjoys time at home with his family in the Charente Maritime on Frances beautiful Atlantic coast. To find a DMi office desk and other resources for creating your own harmonious home office, visit www.officedeskreviews.com
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The review "Find Your Best Office Desk" was last updated on 20/04/2015.