Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Setting Boundaries within Your Home: The Importance of a Work Space and a Play Space

Picture of working from home

As our society evolves into an even more tech dependent entity, distinguishing the line between work and play has become increasingly more difficult. With smart phones, nonstop internet access, portable computers, and all of the other technological wonders of the 21st century, we can literally take our work with us almost anywhere. While these gadgets are undeniably major technological achievements, they often make us forget the importance of separating our work lives from our personal lives. Setting a boundary between these two aspects of our lives encourages more success within both areas.

More and more often, individuals are combining their work environment with their home environment by working from home. Working from home has its perks. For busy parents, working from home can be the solution to many of the stresses of having children and maintaining a full time job. However, while working from home allows you much more flexibility than a traditional 9 to 5 would, this flexibility can oftentimes become a detriment. It is essential for busy work-at-home parents to compartmentalize their work and personal lives. The first step to establishing boundaries between these two aspects of your life is separating them physically.

Create an at-home office that is used for only work. Ideally this office would be its own room in a separate part of the house. While not everyone has the luxury of an extra room, you should try to choose a low traffic area that is quiet and secluded from other distractions within your home. The function of this space should be very well defined. Do not set up your home office at the kitchen table or near a television. Try to avoid using a room with a bed or even a couch (far too tempting). Your office should look like an office. Creating a separate space for work and leisure activities encourages you to focus on one thing at a time. One of the hardest aspects of working from home is remaining completely focused on the task at hand. It is important to distinguish for your body and mind which areas are for leisure and which are for work. When you enter your home office you should feel focused and alert. Your mind and body should know that this space is a space for work not play.

Furthermore, as a work-at-home parent it is essential to establish clear "work time" guidelines for all members of the household. The first item to address is a time schedule. You should establish with your family members and your work associates a specific schedule, delineating what times you are available for work and what times you will be breaking and available for leisure. This will help reduce interruptions throughout the day that can hinder both your work life and your personal life. Establishing a consistent routine gives you a time to focus on business, a time to share with others, and a time to spend on yourself. Other guidelines should include rules about how kids should enter your office and what activities take place in your office. Clear guidelines will help each day run more smoothly for you, your family, and your business.

Working from home can have both its positives and its negatives. While you have the freedom to attend to your children at any point and you can work from the comfort of your own home, you must also learn to manage your work schedule within your home life. This challenge takes time to truly master successfully. While it may sound trite, an area conducive to work and a separate area conducive to play are key to a successful work and personal life.

Author Bio:
Donna Reish, a freelancer who blogs about best universities, contributed this guest post. She loves to write education, career, frugal living, finance, health, and parenting relating articles. She can be reached via email at: donna.reish13(at)

Image Citation: joeyparsons

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