Three Keys to Achieving Balance Between Your Home Office and Your Family Life

By Robert Imbriale

You may think that working from your home is the ultimate freedom. You
may get tingles down your spine at the mere thought of being able to
work in your pajamas, be with your children, and never deal with the
morning commute again. Yes, working from your home can be all of these
things and a whole lot more too.

As with many of the people I coach, working from home, however, can be
both a relief and a headache at the same time. Keeping a balance between
your professional home life and your personal home life presents many
challenges. One in particular that comes up in many of my coaching
sessions is the unending desire to work every waking moment of everyday,
including weekends! It’s a real challenge having a lot of work just
inches away from where you are supposed to be enjoying quality time with
your family.

So what can you do? How can you make your home business work while
keeping your personal life intact? There are three areas that I consider
paramount to running a successful home based business.

First, remember that above all else, your business is your business, and
your family is your family. Try never to mix the two because that can
easily lead to a toxic potion. When you are in business mode, be focused
on your business. Try to keep your children out of your work area at all
times. If that means having to hire a babysitter to occupy your children
while you work, do it.

It’s much more important to have a professional appearance to your
clients than having a the few extra dollars you may save by not hiring a
babysitter. Being close to your children can be a blessing, but they can
also spell disaster as you try to close that key account over the phone
just as one of them begins to cry or scream uncontrollably right next to

If a full time sitter is not an option, consider hiring a part-time
sitter. When the sitter is in, that’s when you make your calls. Work
your calling schedule around your babysitter as best you can, and make
sure you save the most important calls for that quiet time.

The more separation you create between your business mode and your
personal life, the better. If your home office has a door, close it. Cut
off any temptation to go and do the dishes, laundry or whatever during
your work time. Avoid those frequent mini-raids of the refrigerator
during work time. These types of distractions will only help keep you in
your office much longer than necessary.

Second, make sure you have a business telephone line, a separate fax
line, and a third modem line, if you use the Internet for long periods
of time. Your business line should have an answering machine, voice-mail
system, or an answering service’s live operator that answers your phone
in a professional manner when you are not available. Remember that your
goal is not to sound like a home office, so the more professional you
can sound on the telephone, the better.

Third, keep yourself as organized as if your were working in a corporate
office. Organization prevents contracts and other important documents
from getting buried under piles of files, newspapers, or even last
night’s dinner! Just because you work from your home doesn’t mean you
are any less of a professionalÖ. so act like one and treat important
documents with respect.

As part of keeping organized, do everything you can to keep food and
drinks away from your desk! Spills cost you many hours of work, and can
even cost you thousands of dollars if they were to damage any of your
delicate electronic equipment. My motto is simple: “Food stays in the
kitchen, and paperwork stays in the office.”

In all cases working from home, use common sense. Your business depends
on you being organized and keeping your personal and business lives
separate, even though they co-exist under the same roof. Get in the
habit of turning off your computer at a reasonable hour and use that
time to be with your family, relax and enjoy your lifeÖ. Although it may
be tempting to get right back to work after dinner, remember that your
work will be there for you in the morning, just as it would if you left
it back at the corporate office. HBM

Mr. Imbriale is a nationally recognized business coach specializing in
business development. He is an accomplished author and copywriter and
his work has been published nationally in both consumer and trade
publications. For a free telephone coaching session with Mr. Imbriale,
send your name, address and telephone number to him at: 203 Commack
Road, Suite 135, Commack, NY 11725-3437 or fax it to 516-754-9205. Mr.
Imbriale can be reached at 516-754-9144 or via e-mail at Mr. Imbriale is available for private coaching
sessions by appointment only. You can also reach him on the Internet’s
World Wide Web at

Originally Published at

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