Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Previous post title got me thinking...

Being a teleworker or a telecommuter is a great thing. I can show up for work in my PJs or I can sit on the porch, in the hammock... There are a number of benefits to working from home, but there are also many drawbacks. Many of them a product of not setting rules to work by.

Many people try to keep our attention on burnout, or to use a friend's label "Volunteer Vertigo", but most of the time a simple set of rules would keep us from being affected. I'd like to share some that I use, and I am interested in what you have to add.

1) Set up a 'workspace'.
For me, this is as simple as the table I use for my laptop in my office.

2) Make the rule that nothing other than work will go on in this 'workspace'
Sounds easy, right? Well, it isn't. Something as simple as reading your snail mail in your 'workspace' can undermine the rule. This is a difficult one for me to follow through on. I've begun going so far as to get up from the workspace and walking away when the phone rings. It gives me the chance to keep my mind focused.

3)Ensure that you set work hours.
Most important rule, and most likely to be seen as flexible. In IT it is easy for us to get blinders when we are working on something we enjoy. We lose track of time. This has the side-effect of causing us to begin to dislike what we once loved. I consider this rule one of the most important, if not THE most important.

There are many other little rules that I have, but I think I will stop there for now. I may continue in a later post and cover things like "recreational surfing must be done somewhere other than your chosen workspace." Also very important, however, I think the ones above are the keystones. If you can achieve those, then the rest are up to you.

Let me know what you do to keep from working all hours. :-)


1 comment:

  1. I open email and other needed applications when I start in the morning.

    I quit email at (or sometimes around) 1700. I close any open webexes or chat tools about the same time, too.

    Work happens in "the office", and I won't bring the laptop out of the office for "work" unless lunch cannot be eaten in there, and something that truly, really, actually *REQUIRES* my attention.

    And I don't use my work-owned laptop on the weekends unless my personal laptop is horched... But mostly I don't use the computer at all outside business hours whenever possible.