How to stop working 24-7

Working from home gives you flexibility in how and when you work, but with that can be the temptation to work more hours than is sensible.  This can be a tricky problem to deal with.  On one side you could always just pop back into the office to do a bit more work and catch up.  But on the other side you could be allowing work to take over your life.

It may not be as simple as working less, you need to understand why you are doing the amount of hours you are.

Are you:

  • Taking on more work than is realistically possible?
  • Finding it difficult saying no to your manager?
  • Setting up a new business?
  • Feeling a financial pinch?
  • Missing the systems that will allow you to work effectively?
  • Working in a cluttered disorganised office that is slowing you down?
  • Feeling that just because you are working from home you need to work 24-7?

The reasons behind why you are working 24-7 will determine the solution.  But here are a few that I suggest.

Remember why you are working from home

You want to remember the original reason behind your decision to work from home?  What are your ambitions or aspirations for either your career or business?  You may have lost sight of all you had hoped for by being based at home and need to remind yourself of those reasons and focus back on them.

Establish working hours

Remember to set and stick to the hours you are going to work.  If you don’t have specific office hours you may not even realise how much time you are actually spending in the office.  One or two late nights to meet a deadline is OK, but anymore than that and there is the potential that you are going to burn out.  Be strict about these hours and don’t miss out on spending time with your family.

Take a break

It is a false economy to think you can work effectively 24-7.  Take regular breaks from your office, stretch your legs and get some fresh air.

Close the office

When your day is done, leave the office, close the door and do not return until the next day.  This is not always possible as the room and computer may need to be used for personal reason.  But make sure not to answer your work phone or emails during the times when your office is meant to be closed.

Rachael Ross of Purely Peppermint is a home and office organising expert specialising in helping those that work from home.  She works with individuals and business by providing bespoke practical solutions for their home office and the issues that arise when being based at home.  Rachael’s book ‘How to make working from home work for you’ is being published in May 2010.

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