Having become a freelancer recently, I thought I had achieved nirvana in terms of family life organization: more time lost in public transport, freedom in my schedules and an increased presence at home. For a few weeks now, I have been discovering the incredible advantages of working at home but also, I must say, the big disadvantages that go with it. After a break-in period during which we did a bit of anything (a shower at noon, vacuuming instead of sending emails, etc.), I finally found a balance between these two universes thanks to some things that save my life. I would be remiss if I did not share them with you.
Tip # 1 Have decompression chambers
When I worked outside, it took me around 45 minutes to reach my offices, usually by public transport. Even if I continually grumbled about this wasted time, I also appreciated having a moment just for me during which I could read, play or just daydream. Between my house and my office, I had 45 minutes to go from one world to another and to clear up the problems of one or the other during the trip. With a home office, it's difficult to make an efficient transition when you only need a few steps to be at your work computer. A word of advice: don't just take a few steps. Be careful, you shouldn't get lost 45 minutes before finding your feet under the desk, but setting up, as I call it, a decompression lock is important. In my case, I accompany and come back to pick up the children from school. It generally takes me 10 minutes during which I smoothly pass from the status of mom to that of entrepreneur, without possible return before 6 pm (see tip n ° 3).
Tip 2 Let people know that we are working
I do not know if this concerns all people working at home but I have noticed more than once this tendency to minimize the importance of his work because we can do it at home. As if working at home was so much an advantage that we do not give ourselves the right to complain or the possibility of bragging. This, if you are not careful, can cause a lot of complications. By not highlighting the job you are doing or the tasks you have done, those around you will end up thinking that you have time for something else. Be aware that this other thing includes (strike out unnecessary information) visiting the cat at the veterinarian, dropping off a package at the Post Office, going on a school trip, neighbor's plants to be watered, a pickling radiator, etc. Stop! I remind you that you are working and that your boss, even if it is yourself, will not accept such compromises. To make sure those around you leave you alone, highlight your timetable, for example on the fridge. Do not shut up your work day, make a debrief of your activity even if it does not interest anyone (at least we understand that you have worked). In short, all the ploys to make it clear that you are not available during the day (unless you have decided otherwise) are to be exploited!
Tip 3 Put away your things
If I could still improve my working conditions a little, I would immediately sign for an extra room that I could invest as a professional place. The problem is not the blurring of the boundaries between personal and professional life but rather the obligation of arrangement that this implies. Working in my living room, I face two problems. First, I have to put my things in boxes every night if I don't want a glass of lemonade to be spilled on my books. Then I have to concentrate during the day so as not to see that the windows need a little wipe or that my carpet deserves to be visited by a vacuum cleaner. Until this blessed day when I could have an office (with a lock, supreme luxury!), I am forced to self-discipline so that the two universes do not meet. This implies systematic storage before and after work. You will not be able to be 100% in your professional affairs if you have your ironing board continuously in your field of vision. And the opposite is also true: how can you relax in front of a good movie if you can see the stack of mail still untreated from your sofa?
Tip 4 See life in duplicate
It's a bit of a special trick because I'm not following it myself, at least not to the end. However if I had the means, I think I would not hesitate a second. The principle is simple: have all your belongings in duplicate, always with the idea of compartmentalizing, on the one hand the job and on the other the family. I am talking about means since that implies getting a professional telephone and a professional computer, in addition to these personal items. Then there are other less expensive solutions like saving your professional contacts by assigning them a specific ringtone on your smartphone or creating a separate session on your computer. Also think about your presence on social networks: avoid mixing genres between your cat's video and an online request for professional contact. Finally, don't be too critical of yourself if you have trouble sticking to these tips. It is very difficult to separate professional and personal life when you work at home. The ultimate proof? Even those who work outside do not totally succeed!