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Balance Home Office Work and Personal Lives

written by: Meryl K Evans•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 7/5/2011

Working where you live can make it difficult to draw the line between home and work lives. Get tips for making the line clearer so you can enjoy business and personal lives.

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    Business and Personal: The Blurring Lines

    Working in a home office undoubtedly makes it hard to decide when your business life starts and your personal life goes on a hiatus and vice versa. You could be cooking dinner when a call comes in from a client needing your assistance. Since your office is right there in your home, it's easy to switch modes in seconds and all day long.

    No matter what goes on your personal life, living a balanced life ensures you have the energy and strength to excel in both parts of your life. Parents want to cherish their kids' childhood. Volunteers want to give as much as they can with all their heart and might. Athletes want to focus on effective training and strength.

    If you prefer to be all about your career, that's your choice. Some people feel fulfilled by their careers alone. And that's mighty fine. But if they feel like they're missing something, then it could affect the career.

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    Tips for Work-Life Balance

    So how do people manage to keep their lives balanced? Most likely, not completely free of insanity and stress. At least, they can make it easier with these tips:

    1. Use a personal information manager application: A typical application contains contacts, calendar, and to do lists. You might choose the one on your phone, use a web-based application, or download software. Only you can decide which works best for you. Most come with a free trial, so you can test before you pick.
    2. Plan your week: You might find too many appointments not related to work taking up your week. In this case, try to look at your week ahead by the Friday before Monday. This way, you can reschedule the appointments in time. When making personal appointments, verify your week has room for it.
    3. Know that you'll work during off hours. Sometimes a week becomes overloaded with personal appointments and you can't help it despite working a standard work week. You can make it up in the evening or on weekends without sacrificing sleep or making it a habit.
    4. Get your sleep: How much sleep a person needs to function well depends on the person. It's important to avoid sacrificing whatever that magic number is or else you won't function well the next day. It could hurt your clients more than help if you sacrifice sleep.
    5. Watch your deadlines: When you agree to deadlines, take care to ensure you don't have too many things due around the same time. This also helps you get your sleep and prevents racing the clock and sacrificing quality.
    6. Say "No": This avoids overloading your schedule and turning you into a stressed person, which affects your health. It's true that "When mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." It feels selfish to say, "No," but your client and personal life benefit.
    7. Use your "I can't work now" time wisely. Sometimes you can't work or focus. When this happens, you might find yourself surfing the Web or doing other useless activities. Instead, accept that you can't always be a working machine and do easy activities such as fold laundry, exercise, or mindless tasks -- these are tasks that benefit you.

    Here's an article with tips on time management so you can stick to schedule. How do you balance your writing life with your personal life?