Now that I’m often working from home I’ve developed some hard-line office rules. So far they’ve kept me on-track.
First, I still get up very early every morning; before 5 a.m. if possible. I try to have the day’s papers read and my first pot of coffee consumed before the rest of the house wakes up.
Second, I shower and dress in real work clothes; slacks, nice blouse and sweater/jacket; complete with makeup, hair fixed and jewelry. In the past two months I’ve worn jeans three times. Each and every time I felt I was “out of uniform” and slacking off. I’ve decided I’m sticking with the slacks and pumps from here on out.
Third, all the lights in the house have to be off as soon as Big Al and the boys leave for the day, except for the lights in my office. There are no distractions anywhere and the television has never been turned on other than before 7 a.m. and after 5 p.m.
Fourth, immediately following “lights out” the radio is turned to the XM Spa channel. It’s good background noise, basically acoustic music. The Big Guy swears it lulls Fez the Wonder Dog into this extremely lazy hound trance allowing me to work uninterrupted for hours at a time.
I’m finding it harder to turn “off” the work mode than turn it on. Being home makes me want to produce more: more work, more time, more results. I’ve found my days to be laid back in terms of no commute, but much more intense since I know my computer and my assignments are right there always within a short trip down eight stairs to the bottom level of our house.
In his blog “Zen Habits” www.zenhabits.com; Leo Babauta lists 30 habits he and his readers believe individuals need to adopt in order to work effectively from home. I’ve found the list very helpful as I create this new work environment. There are a few new ones that I’m working to incorporate.
The first new perspective is “Don’t stop working if it’s a hard day.” My hard days are those when the ideas won’t come easily or the creativity gets log-jammed. I need to remember and train myself to keep working toward something. Changing projects is fine but stopping is not. It’s too easy to let a 10-minute break turn into a two hour lost chunk of time.
Another idea I plan to adopt from Zen Habits is keeping “three lists of three.” One list is three things I have to do today, followed by three things I would love to cross off if time allows and the final is three things I need to take care of but aren’t day/time sensitive.
Page 2 of 2 - And lastly, I’ve always been pretty good at saying thank you, but Babauta suggests looking at your thank you notes/calls from a different perspective; thanking those customers and suppliers, family members and friends that make it possible to work from home. I’ll be adding that to my list of three “must accomplish” tasks for my foreseeable future.
Lori Marble writes a weekly column for the Daily News.