Work Life Balance Words of Wisdom

I started this blog as my journey into a comfortable balance of work, family and fun, but throw pregnancy into the mix and everything else goes out the door. We’re nearing the end of this pregnancy and have hit the sleepless nights, can’t get comfy, crazy dreams stage. I can’t wait to meet my little girl and at this rate I’ll probably get more rest when she gets here…maybe!

It’s amazing how many people I’ve talked to lately have issues with work-life balance. A college roommate working up north, my Mother in law, my husband (although he would like a little more work in his balance)have all complained recently about the balance they have. It makes me wonder what about today’s culture is driving us to make work our life instead of a means to support our life.

Don’t get me wrong I love my job, but it is a job. J. O. B. Something that I do to support my family, pay my bills, and contribute to society. However none of those reasons are good enough to ignore my growing family, miss an important event or lose my personal time with the ones I love.

Working at home was a tough transition with this since I was suddenly in the “office” 24 hours a day. But whether you physically shut an office door at 5 pm or close and lock away the computer (pregnant women work from the couch around here!), you have to set limits and establish a quitting time when you shift from working bee, to your at home self.

My top 5 rules for working from home:
1. Set your schedule and STICK TO IT…If you have trouble with this, physically lock the computer away, turn it completely off and schedule an activity for yourself right at quitting time. Just a walk around the block will get you out of the house and back in a personal mind frame.
2. Get up, get dressed, and pretend you are going to the office. Your commute may have shrunk to 15 seconds, but you are still going to work. It will be much less tempting to turn on the TV and channel surf while you work if you are up dressed and at your desk at a normal working time.
3. Establish office space in your house. Having a place for your office supplies, computer, to work, will all make you more productive and give you somewhere to “leave” at the end of the work day.
4. Don’t work weekends. Unless it’s an emergency and you would be going into the office to handle it, don’t work after hours and on weekends from home. If you do, co-workers will get used to having you available at all hours and will not hesitate to call. A polite but firm, “I’ll handle that when I get to the office tomorrow”, should let them know that you are offline and no longer working if they manage to catch you.
5. Work hard, but recognize that you are working…A lot of new telecommuters have trouble rationalizing not working crazy hours since they are at home. They take a break to throw in laundry or set a crock=pot for dinner and see it as a reason to need to work overtime. However in an office co-workers would take a coffee or smoke break, visit over cube walls, in other words, use the same amount of time in office social niceties that you are using in productive non work related matters. Cut yourself some slack, take a normal amount of break time and then get back to work so you can confidently call it quits at the end of the day.

Words of Wisdom from a Veteran Telecommuter! 🙂

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