Separating Work Time from Family Time

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When you work at home, it can sometimes be difficult to draw those clear lines of distinction between work time and family time.  To be certain, one of the reasons that many people choose to work at home is precisely so that they will have a certain amount of flexibility in their work time, and be able to integrate both family time and work time into their schedules.  Still, separating work time from family time is an important exercise.

The first thing to do when trying to separate work time from family time is to establish clear boundaries for yourself and for your family.  These boundaries need to not only be physical, in the sense that you have a specific place within the home that you can work in an undisturbed manner, but also temporal, in that you need to have specific times where you are working that are separated entirely from family time.  In other words, your family needs to know and accept the fact that you will be unavailable to them during certain portions of the day or the week.

Obviously, when you are separating work time from family time you can’t plan for every possible emergency or contingency.  There will be times that you will have to stop working, for example, to pick up a sick child from school.  However, it should only be the rarest of circumstances, such as an emergency, when you allow family time to flow over into work time.

On the other hand, it can sometimes be difficult to keep your work time out of your family time.  It can be difficult, when your bedroom is down the hall from your job, to avoid going to work until the specific times that you have scheduled.  In addition, it is not uncommon for someone who is cleaning their kitchen to become distracted by something work-related, as well.  Being able to tell your work-at-home job “no” is just as important as being able to tell your family “no” when you are trying to separate your work time from your family time.

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