Separate Work and Home Life

When work and home life become intermingled, your personal life can sometimes take a back seat to the demands of work. But there are ways you can establish boundaries between the two.

1. Dress up for work. Although you may be cozy in your pajamas, dressing in something other than your robe might help get you into the right mental state for work. A power suit might be overkill for the commute down the hall to your home office, but a business casual outfit might help you feel like a true professional.

2. Turn your home office into a real office. Although your office might double as a guestroom on the weekends, it’s your workspace during the week. Hang a dry-erase organizer on the wall and paint your name on the door — do whatever it takes to turn that guestroom into a productive home office.

3. Make a “to do” list for work and another for the house. Keeping a list of household chores separate from your work’s “to do” list will help you get everything done, without driving yourself (and your family) crazy.

4. Systematize your daily routine so the workday has a definite beginning, middle and end.

5. Install enough phone lines to support an office phone, Internet connection and fax machine. This ensures you won’t be answering business calls on your residential phone.

In spite of all efforts, for some home office workers a physical distinction is needed to help keep work independent from home. So when all else fails, commute — in a manner of speaking. Actually leave the home before you start your workday and then come back. Drive around the block — or to a local cafe for a cup of coffee. It may be enough to create an artificial boundary between your home and your home office.