When I used to work at a “real” office, I remember that I always made it a habit to leave my personal problems at the door of my home. The moment I stepped out of my door, my mindset was all about work, never mind whatever personal issues I might have been facing.
How does this apply when you work from home?
Given that I have been working from home full-time for almost four years now, you’d think I would have the answer by now! But, no, unfortunately, I am now only realizing that I have quite a long way to go in this regard.
All of us, in varying degrees, work at home. Some may have a dedicated room that serves as an office. Some may work wherever there is free space. Others may work regularly at a coffee shop.
I suppose that, if you regularly go out of the house to work, my old mantra is more easily applicable. A change in surrounding certainly makes it more manageable to temporarily set aside personal issues.
What if that is not always possible? What if you are “forced” to work from home? How do you actually set aside personal problems so that your work won’t suffer?
We had a good post in the past about whether you tell a client about a disability or chronic health condition or not. I suppose that belongs to this bucket as well.
In my experience, the way I separate personal problems from work boils down to two things.
Much like when I used to go to a physically different location to work, when facing a serious personal issue, I would set my calendar more carefully and follow my schedule more strictly. I would tell myself that during those periods where it says “work” (or anything related) in the calendar, that’s exactly what I do: work.
It doesn’t always work for me – much less in the past months, to be honest – but it is better than not trying at all.
Give up and take a break – temporarily
I also slot in occasional breaks where I allow myself to rest from work and think about my personal issues if I have to – but I need to be strict with myself and keep those breaks short. And, just as important is the “rule” that only during those breaks can I take a break from my work mindset.
Obviously, I am not doing a very good job with these things right now, or else I wouldn’t be sharing this with you. So, I turn to you, FWJ community, how do you deal when your personal life does not cooperate?
On another note, if you think you’re nearing burn out, here’s how we can help: Have you Hit the Wall of Freelance Writer Burnout? How to Deal with It
In my case, I always think that my home is a “real workplace”. If I say 8am, then it must be 8am. Sometimes it is tough since there are a lot of distractions.