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 You are Here: Work at Home Moms > Telecommuting & Work at Home Directory > Life as a Telecommuter

Balancing your life as a telecommuter – learning to set boundaries

Telecommuting brings a whole new set of challenges to your life.

Now your work life and your family life are all in one location – your home.

It can be enough to send some telecommuters back to the office. It doesn’t have to be that way.

You can successfully balance working at home and your personal life.

Here are ten tips to get started living the life you desire.

#1 Make a Schedule and stick to it. If your work hours are 9-5 make sure you stick to them and ask friends and family to respect those working hours too. They wouldn’t call you at work to see if you can pick toilet paper up from the grocery store or to talk about weekend plans. Set boundaries and ask that friends and family respect them.

#2 Keep yourself organized. File cabinets are wonderful as is an organized computer desktop. In addition, you may find it useful to use a planner to schedule your time and organize your tasks. Outlook, a paper calendar/planner, a PDA or a simple task list.

#3 Get help with the kids. If you have children at home, consider finding part-time daycare, taking turns with a trusted neighbor watching the kids, or setting work hours when your children are sleeping.

#4 Stay focused. When you sit down to work don't lose focus. Don’t shop online. Don’t email your BFF. One great way to keep track of the extras that pop into your mind while you’re working is to simply keep a pen and a notebook on your desk. When you suddenly remember that you need to buy dog food today or the dog will starve, write it down and set time aside at the end of the day to run your errands.

#5 Take breaks. If you were sitting at your desk in your office you’d get up every once in a while to stretch or take a break, right? When you’re working from home breaks are important too.

#6 Automate your business where possible. Avoid having to hand deliver documents and use email or content management websites. Use document sharing technology when working with a team and use communication technology for video conferences, autoresponders, and call forwarding. Technology is the reason you’re able to work from home, embrace it to make life easier.

#7 Ask your family for help. Make a chore list and ask everyone in your family to contribute. If your children can cook, let them. If they can clean the kitchen, dust, and fold laundry, let them. Cooking meals is a time consuming activity, find a few crock pot recipes and make ahead recipes and you can have a week of easy, nutritious meals your family can enjoy.

#8 Automate as many errands as you can. Did you know that many groceries deliver? It costs a bit more but if you’re making $40/hour then that hour you’d spend at the grocery is better spent working. Online bill pay and online shopping save countless hours and rather than playing catch-up on the weekend you can spend your weekends having fun with your family.

#9 Set time aside for yourself. This is important. When you’re home 24/7 and working or caring for your family 24/7, life can become a bit tedious. Find things that you enjoy doing and make time for them. If you like running, make time to run a few days each week. Book clubs, bubble baths, date night with your spouse, or an afternoon at the spa with your friends are all great ways to keep a smile on your face.

#10 Set boundaries for work.

We talked a bit about not letting your personal life interfere with your work day productivity, however, the opposite is true too.

When your work is only a room away, it’s easy to close yourself in your office during non-work hours to ‘just get a little more done.’

This is a good way to burn out, not to mention your family will miss you!

Telecommuting is full of joys and challenges. Set your home office and your day up right from the beginning and the joys will far outweigh the challenges. Enjoy!


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