So you’ve gotten yourself into a pretty good groove, you have started building a pretty loyal client base, orders are coming in, you’re finding time to see friends and family, and you feel like you are actually starting to realize your dream of being your own boss is actually starting to become a reality. You couldn’t ask for much more, you feel successful, you’re starting to be successful, but there’s just one thing that just doesn’t seem to be working for you. Boundaries. It’s been something that you have been putting on the backburner, you’ve had other more important things to deal with, and, in all honesty, you were so tired and working so hard that you couldn’t have even been bothered to make the effort. But now you have the time, so what do you do?
Boundaries, particularly boundaries for working from home, are much like the Lochness Monster, elusive, mysterious, and questionable in their existence. You would never think of waltzing into your spouse’s office without asking or storm in demanding where they put your favourite cheese, but for whatever reason, when you work at home you aren’t ‘really’ working. Here are a few tips to help cement those boundaries:
- Put up signs. Signs work. They’re clear, concise, and let’s face it, intimidating. If you see a sign on a door at eye level, you can’t miss it. The majority of people will stop and read it, causing a moment of pause. It’s the pause that you need for them to actually stop and remind themselves that you are working. Yes. You actually are really working in there.
- Post a schedule. Are you busy? Yep. Says so on the schedule. Do you have time for coffee? Nope. I’m working. Look at the schedule. Yep, it definitely gets easier if you can refer to the (yep, you guessed it!) schedule.
- Educate your children. Children are perhaps the ones that find the whole concept of working from home the most mysterious and perhaps the most flexible in terms of availability. If they are old enough to read the schedule, than most likely they are at an age where they can understand that you have a job to do. But what do you do for the little ones that just want to have some mommy or daddy time? Using a stop light system can work wonders. When you are open for some distraction, put up the green light, if you are maybe busy but have some time, the yellow, and if you have too much work and can’t be interrupted, don’t hesitate to plaster that red all over the door!