Work From Home – Booby Traps That Kill Your Time

"Work From Home" has somehow become associated with women who are unable to attend office for personal reasons (child care tops the list). When this idea is pitched into our actual corporate environment, it gets highlighted as "telecommuting". Well.. it all means the same eventually, work from home!

Tell me, how many times you have come across classifieds that say "Work from Home" in print & over internet. Very tempting isn’t it? Especially, when fuel prices, traffic woes & road rage, flash across our minds. But is it really all that sugar and honey? Does "work from home" truly translate into bliss and feeling of gratification?

The fact that we work from home, on one hand saves up on office setup & installation costs, drastically cuts down our fuel bills, & for some wardrobe bills too. While on the other hand, we fail to consider the frequent interruptions & distractions that arise purely based on the fact that we are at home. This could be a unannounced guests, neighbour who shows no sign of leaving, unsolicited sales representatives etc. Not to mention the temptation to succumb to "I will do it later" –syndrome.

The greatest strength and also the greatest drawback of working from home is that, "there is no one watching over you". Sometimes, we do need someone over our shoulders to tell us when we are drifting away. Working at home is not a wonder therapy and one-size-does-not-fit-all. It requires some amount of grit and determination to get it work for you, just right. Watch out for the

  • Booby traps listed below. Discover what works for you best.
    1. Booby Trap 1 : - Time Factor
      • Have strict timings to "attend work" & allocate time to "do other things" in your computer. Need I say more???
      • If it is neither your "working time" nor your "other time", stay away from your system. At the end of the day, it is still a machine.
    2. Booby Trap 2 : - Space Factor
      • Separate physical space will trigger the "serious mood" required to work.
      • Eventually, this will tune the family "not to interrupt while at work".
    3. Booby Trap 3:- Phone calls & Visitors.
      • Make a note of phone calls & visitors.
      • Return the calls when you are "not at work" & gently explain your routine.
      • After a couple of similar calls, they too will begin to respect your time.
    4. Booby Trap 4- Emails & Social Networking
      • These are the silent time stealers. Unless you lock them up completely it is impossible to "be at work".
      • I respond to official mails before I begin work & after I complete work. (any mails that arrive later is responded the next day). Perhaps you can come up with your own routine.
    5. Booby Trap 5- Commit things to writing
      • Our memory is not a dumping yard & there is no overload indicator.
      • I use a 200 page notebook with separators to write down tasks associated with my ongoing projects. May be you can try and get to know what works for you.
      • I also use sticky notes for meetings & project delivery, a new set every week.
    6. Booby Trap 6: - Family time is truly for family
      • Churning codes in your head while helping your kids with homework is something I would not recommend.
      • Isn't it for the sake for family you decided to work from home? So what is the point if you are mentally glued to work even while with family.
    7. Booby Trap 7: - Take a walk
      • Working from home could lead to isolation in your neighbourhood.
      • You mind & body needs sunshine and human interaction for a healthy well-being.
      • Walk the dog, or take a stroll… what is important is to "stay disconnected".

    Wile working from home, it is indeed a challenge to draw the line between work & non work hours. It is even a greater challenge to get this message across to friends and family. You work from home does not mean that you are at everybody else's disposal, and, you time cannot be taken for granted. But before you can explain this to someone else, YOU need to respect YOUR TIME and not stray from your routine.

    The moment you are able to discipline your mind & actions towards this, then its only a matter of time, practice & patience, others get the message.

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