I don’t have the best time management skills in the world. This is exacerbated by the fact that I can work from home. While it has done wonders for my productivity in experiential marketing analytics, it does come with some drawbacks. Here are some you should keep in mind should the work-at-home option be available to you.
Working at Home Can Mean You Are Always at Work
It can be difficult to create a clear separation between work life and home life. I have been at my desk for seven hours so far today. That, in itself, is not a problem. I intend to be at my desk for another couple hours to finish other work. The problem comes after 7:00 pm, when I consider myself done for the day. I no real transition period to signify that I am no longer at work. If I want to do anything personal on my computer, I am still at my desk, just like I have been all day. Even if I walk away, it’s all too easy for an email to pop up on my phone and beckon me back to the computer. “I’m right here. It will only take a minute.” Those minutes can add up quickly and interrupt what could have been a relaxing evening. Usually, the emails could wait, but it is so tempting to handle them now, rather than deal with them in the morning.
It is worse during an busy week. We’ve all had those weeks when we put in 60 hours or more. You have multiple experiential marketing reporting deadlines converging on each other. It’s simply inescapable that you are going to be working quite a bit more.
The Commute Time Saved Can Become More Time at Work
Working from home allows for more productive time, because the commute is so short and you are not likely to get stuck in traffic. Working through lunch or dinner to try to eke out as much extra work time as possible also allows for more time “at work.” But working through lunch and dinner, and eating at your desk, is unhealthy and it can you make you miserable by the end of the day. Going three consecutive days without leaving your home office can make anyone stir crazy.
The Solution is Creating Separation
There is an old Pennsylvania Dutch saying,
“You need to come apart before you come apart.”
We must manage our time. I found the easiest way to make sure work has a hard stop is by planning something else to do at the scheduled end of the work day. By heading to the gym at 7:00 pm on the dot, I guarantee two things:
- First, I leave the house and get some much-need exercise.
- Second, I create a distinguishable separation between my work time and my personal time.
I can come home from the gym, make dinner, and relax. Emails may still come in, but I am a few hours removed from the work mindset, so it is much easier to assess their relative importance. I am able to make a clearer choice either to respond now or handle them tomorrow.
Photo Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dumbledad/