Setting Your Hours
When you work from home it is very easy to blur the distinctions between 'being at home' and 'working'. If you are not careful you can end up not being very efficient at work and not being able to have proper time off either.
It's all too easy to keep working into the middle of the night, just because the computer is there in the house. Or you may even find yourself getting up out of bed, because you had a brilliant idea which 'couldn't wait till morning'.
On the other side of the coin you can get distracted and take lots of tea and coffee breaks, just because your office is next to the kitchen. Before you know where you are you've put on a load of laundry, washed all the dishes and made plans for redecorating the living room! Meanwhile your work is piling up and the kids have come home from school and so you end up having to stay up all night to catch up!
The answer to these problems is to set proper boundaries. If you are doing 'outsource' work this is usually quite easy as the company or companies you are working for will keep a track of your working hours and availability. With this type of work you usually have to log-in for a certain number of hours at set times each day. Your hours may be strange if your client is in a different time zone than the one you live in, but they are clearly defined set hours.
When you are freelancing, your working hours are up to you. This is great if you are a 'night owl' and prefer to work when the rest of the world is sleeping, or you if are working around your kids' school hours. Just make sure you know when you are supposed to be working and when you have free time.
Decide Your Hours
Decide your working hours and stick to them. If you don't need to discuss things with clients in person or over the phone most of the time, you don't need to work conventional 9-5 hours at all! You may find that you prefer to work long and hard 3 or 4 days a week, giving yourself a long weekend.
If you have young children at school, you may choose to split your day, working during school hours, and then again later in the evening after the kids have gone to bed. Of course in the school vacation you may decide to work just at night so that you can spend time with the children during the day.
Have A Routine
Have a routine so that you know that when you go into your office, you are working for a set number of hours. Let your clients know that you are contactable by phone between certain hours. Make sure that when you close the office door to start work you leave your domestic cares outside. And when you leave the office at the end of your working day, leave your work worries behind.