It’s Friday.  I’m on leave next week in conjunction with the holiday.  My 15 of marketing in the morning, and I’m lazy when I get off work at the end of the day.  I end up reading J.D. Robb and chilling.  No writing this evening.

But I’m also thinking about work and the impact telework has on people in general because of this.  When the trend for telework started a few years back, the first thing I thought was that a lot of people would have trouble over the long run with it. 

What they thought: I can work from home.  No commute!

The reality:

A family member of mine teleworked before it was called teleworking.  He did it 5 days a week and then worked on a home project on the same computer (which was his.  This was the dark ages of computers.  The company didn’t have one to give him).  He’d close out all the work at the end of the day, then open his personal project files.  Didn’t even get up to walk away from the computer.

To this day, he still associates the house with work. 

It’s not enough to simply work from home.  You gotta separate it with hard dividers.  That includes:

  1. A separate desk for the day job computer (especially true when combined with writing fiction on the side.  You don’t want to associate work with the fun of creativity by even using the same desk).

  2. 30-60 minutes before the end of the workday, start winding down. 

    In the past, I often raced to put out fires right until I was out the door.  So even with a drive home, my brain stayed wired up, often into the evening and interfering with my sleep. At it’s worst, it spilled into a week off because I was couldn’t stop thinking about what I had forgotten. That alone, had an huge impact on my writing. At the time, I tried Writing in Public (also a story a week), and it crashed and burned and then took out a whole city with Godzilla-like force. The fact I could do the Great Challenge and succeed is because I’ve been doing a lot of work on the job-side to mitigate being reactive, as well as my my reaction to emergencies.
  3. Power the work computer down, close the laptop.  Leave the work cell phone on the desk, upside down (so you can’t see it). 
  4. Do a final step of something to transition to your home time.  That could be a walk, playing with the dog or cat, talking with a family member, or even taking a bath.  I wouldn’t recommend going out to eat, except once a week because that can get expensive. 🙂