rules for the work day, or how to work productively from home

Since I work from home, it’s hard to stay focused some days. There are a multitude of distractions that come into play when your office is attached to your home, even when you live alone. As an academic I’ve spent a lot of time working from home before, but I’ve always had days when I had to go to my office on campus. Now that I have no campus office to go to (and sadly not even a coffee shop to use as my office given that I am frequently unable to drive), it’s more and more difficult to work the way that I would if I had a separation between work and home. So, from previous experience, a multitude of blogs and books written by people who work from home, and the little bit of common sense that I can muster, I’ve come up with a set of rules for myself to follow on weekdays. I’m posting them here as a method of holding myself accountable:

  1. By 9 am pajamas are off and “you might be seen in public” clothes are on. No pajama-like clothing allowed between 9 am and 6 pm. (Exception to the rule: lamb skin lined bedroom slippers. Comfy and warm shoes always trump common sense.)
  2. Work will be done in office at desktop computer and not in living room comfy chair with laptop. (Must resist the lure of comfy fireplace.)
  3. No tv as “background noise.” Pandora is acceptable as is other music and NPR, since I did this in my office on campus.
  4. Checking out what’s new on Uncommon Goods and ThinkGeek does not constitute working. Don’t visit these or other sites.
  5. Use David Seah‘s Printable CEO forms to track work time and projects. [Note: these are particularly good for freelance work as they make billing simpler. I’ve also found that they’re useful in keeping track of how much time you spend on academic projects and teaching tasks (e.g., grading, answering student emails, lesson planning, etc.).]

I’m sure that there will be more parts to this post as I come up with new rules and guidelines. Oh, and BTW– blogging is part of my work, so this counts. Sort of.

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