Supervisory Leadership

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Supervisory Leadership Question

How do you separate home and work life when your home is your office?

The quick answer is that you don't, any more than you do when you work outside the home. Home and work are both part of your life. A fight with your spouse affects your work. A great day at work makes it more likely you'll feel good at home.

But there are special challenges to working from home. One is that you're at home and the home things are there in front of you. Laundry or cleaning the kitchen or watering the plants can become a distraction from work.

Then there are children. There have to be clear lines about when you're available for them to barge in and when you're not. When my youngest daughter was pre-verbal we had to create a sign to put on my office door that warned her that daddy was working. All my children are grown now, but when my grandsons come this summer, I'll need to set some ground rules for them.

Here are some of the things I do to make working at home more effective.

I try to schedule at least one block of at least 90 minutes of uninterrupted time a day to do significant work on projects. That means door closed, no email, and no phone. My rule for myself is that I don't have to do project work in that time, but I can't do anything else.

I try to take a break every 90 minutes or so. That's for answering email and returning phone calls, of course. But it's also when I'll start a load of laundry or water the plants.


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