Tips and Tricks

“Am I Working From Home or Living at Work?”


It’s easy to create a home office, but a whole lot tougher to separate your work life from your home.

by Skip Cohen

I wish I could take credit for the title of today’s post, but I saw it on a t-shirt recently. However, it couldn’t be more accurate how so many of us feel with a home office! And indirectly, it ties in with Throwback Thursday – not as a photograph but as a concept we all deal with.

Most of you know my backstory, but here’s the short version – In 2009, I resigned as president of Rangefinder Publishing and WPPI. I disagreed with the way the owner of the company was doing things and decided it was time to head out on my own. Plus, for years, I’d been inspired by so many of you and the entrepreneurial spirit I’ve witnessed over and again.

It’s 14 years later, and I’m still a work in progress. For a long time, it was hard for me to unplug at the end of the day with a home office. Initially, I was afraid I’d have difficulty focusing, distracted by our home, the weather, the dog or dogs, and even the refrigerator (unlimited snack food). But the truth is, it was just the opposite. I was over-focused on work.

While I miss the interaction with coworkers and the support of a staff – my problem has been more centered around “living at work.” For example, it’s that last stop at the computer before going to bed – you know, the one five minutes to check email that turns into 30-60 minutes. Or worse, it’s a challenge if that last email is something more critical or negative that sends me to bed, stressed or agitated. 

So, here’s what I’ve learned as I pick a Throwback that, overall, I don’t miss working out of a corporate office:

  • Take scheduled breaks throughout the day. There’s no water cooler to catch up to friends with, but there’s Sheila and two pups to hang out with, on and off during the day.
  • Don’t work in a vacuum. I regularly share what I’m working on with Sheila. She’s got a great head for business and she the perfect muse and sounding board.
  • Use my phone! I’ll repeatedly catch up with friends and associates with a quick call.
  • I break late morning, usually around 9:30, for breakfast with Sheila. We share making breakfast and sit down together and catch up.
  • Music is usually playing all day long, thanks to multiple Alexas.
  • Usually, sometime between 4:30 and 5:30, I pull the plug, and unless I have something urgent coming in, my computer is shut down. And I’ve stopped checking email before bed – nothing won’t wait until morning.

So, looking back to all my years in business, except the last 14 outside the corporate world, all I miss is the contact with friends, and that’s where conventions and workshops play a role. Would I make the change to my own business all over again? Absolutely and I couldn’t have done it earlier in my career because I wouldn’t have been ready for it.

Happy Throwback Thursday! Whether it’s looking back on some aspect of your career or
enjoying the memories an old photograph brings back, the key is to cherish where you are right now!

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