9 Mandatory Rules Of The Home Office
Sometimes a line needs to be drawn in the sand. You have to stand up, put your foot down, and not eat lunch at your desk while catching up on True Detective at 3PM on a Tuesday. The home office has to be sacrosanct, the rules must be respected, and while you’re in your office you’re AT WORK.
Rules of the Home Office
1. Stay professional.
One of the most important things I learned from my former 8-6 lifestyle was how to consistently wake up around 7 and go to sleep between 11 & 12:30. If you’re just switching to the freelance lifestyle, this is something that will need to be upheld, and possibly one of the most important things you can do for your business. The rest of the world is awake during these hours, and those are your clients. If you want to reach them at their level, you will need to keep the same hours. If you get a call from an interested client at 11:30 and it serves as your alarm clock, you will not leave a good impression with that client, and it may very well cost you a job.
2. Your office is only your office.
Try and only work in there. This is important for a number of reasons, including legal ones, but it’s a good idea to draw a mental and physical line between office and home life. Don’t let the significant other interrupt your day when she has a day off and wants to spend the day together “because now you’re both not going to work!”. You are at work, and when you are in your office house things do not apply to you. Do not do the laundry, clean your bedroom, or any other around the house chores. Whether it’s a table or a room (we would recommend a room), it’s your space only for working.
3. Get up, stand up.[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/126464056″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”150″ iframe=”true” /]
This song should give you a boost.
Don’t be afraid to exercise, pace, go outside for a walk, etc. Take a 15-minute break every once in a while and go walk around the block or just do 20 push-ups. Try a standing desk or if you have a desk, try this as an easy alternative.
Or if you don’t quite want to commit, try the good old-fashioned stack of whatever you have lying around.
4. Make yourself accountable.
Schedule meetings for coffee, or go for lunch with people in your network. It’s important to check in and let people know that you’re still alive, business is good, and your healthy. Doing this reminds them to send a client your way every once in a while, and it’s a good way of keeping yourself in touch with humanity.
5. Stay human.
This one sounds easier than it is. Take a shower. Watch whatever your significant other wants to watch on television, cook dinner and go out for dinner. Feed yourself, try not to have too much the night before and break your sleep cycle. Do things that normal people do, remember what that’s like?
6. Keep yourself in check, or find something else to.
Find a task master. I use RescueTime and have had nothing but success with it. It keeps a constant tab of your activity on your computer and holds you accountable for how you spend your time. There’s a free version (which I use) that does everything I need, but a paid version will let you track time away from your computer, alerts, website blocking for when you spend too much time on reddit and tons of other great features that you may or may not need. I’m content with the free version, but I could see upgrading considering how much it’s helped me reevaluate my time.
7. Constant Contact
If you’re not already involved in a community online that involves your profession, you need to join one. Reddit has a subreddit for everything, even freelancing which I’m a frequent participant in, but that can be a dangerous site to visit, it’s a bit too easy to get distracted. There are other places like meetup.com which can turn online connections into real-life ones. Join a forum, an IRC room, or any online community that you happen upon as long as it’s in your chosen field.
8) When the bell tolls.
When your day is done, end it. This is the hardest one for me. At 5 or 6 pm, or whenever your day is over, let it be over. Put your phone on Do Not Disturb if you have to. I need to get better about this one, considering I’m typing this post at 9:30PM.
9) Keep it tidy.
As hard as it may seem to constantly clean the space you spend the majority of your time, it’s necessary. A clean space leads to an uncluttered mind and just because you’re the only one that may see the space doesn’t mean it has to be destroyed. There is definitely satisfaction to be had in a clean workspace, and it really does stop you from getting distracted.