Setting Boundaries in Your Home Office

home office

With the creation of the personal computer and internet (last century!) the home office was born. But years later we are still struggling to separate our work selves from our private selves since the space we work in is now, also the place where we live. It’s important to create boundaries to help you manage your time and keep these two parts of your life separate.

How to set boundaries in your home office?

  • Wake up at the same time each day. Get dressed to project a professional attitude.
  • Have home office hours. Creating rituals around the beginning and end of your workday.
  • Schedule work during your high-energy time of day and block any interruptions during this time.
  • Schedule social networking time, so you can have some downtime in your workday.
  • Clear anything that is not related to your work out of the home office to avoid distractions.
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Janet Schiesl

Janet has been organizing since 2005. She is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Basic Organization.

She loves using her background as a space planner to challenge her clients to look at their space differently. She leads the team in large projects and works one-on-one with clients to help the process move quickly and comfortably. Call her crazy, but she loves to work with paper, to purge what is not needed and to create filing systems that work for each individual client.

Janet is a Past President of the Washington DC Chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and was voted 2016 Organizer of the Year by the Washington DC Chapter of NAPO.

Janet Schiesl

Janet has been organizing since 2005. She is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Basic Organization.

She loves using her background as a space planner to challenge her clients to look at their space differently. She leads the team in large projects and works one-on-one with clients to help the process move quickly and comfortably. Call her crazy, but she loves to work with paper, to purge what is not needed and to create filing systems that work for each individual client.

Janet is a Past President of the Washington DC Chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and was voted 2016 Organizer of the Year by the Washington DC Chapter of NAPO.

12 Comments

  1. Janet Barclay on March 24, 2020 at 3:24 pm

    These are really great tips. I think I do most of these things fairly well. What’s hardest is coming back to work after lunch. I tend to either jump back in, so my break wasn’t really long enough to benefit from it, or I get caught up in personal emails, Facebook, etc., and lose track of time. But only sometimes!

    • Janet Schiesl on March 25, 2020 at 12:01 pm

      After lunch is hard for me too. I am much more efficient before I eat lunch.

  2. Sabrina Quairoli on January 17, 2022 at 9:55 am

    My home office is in the basement. I have a walk-out basement and do not go downstairs on Saturdays. This helps me create the boundary you mentioned to not allow my business to encompass my personal life. Thanks for the tips!

    • Janet Schiesl on January 17, 2022 at 8:51 pm

      I have a separate room for my office and like you, I don’t step into my office on Saturdays. My biggest challenge is not answering my cell phone on the weekends.

  3. Linda Samuels on January 17, 2022 at 11:30 am

    Boundaries are essential in life. And with the new challenges many of us face of melding work/home life, setting boundaries are even more crucial. Since the pandemic began, I pivoted my business and am only working virtually. So instead of leaving home to visit clients in their homes and offices, I am working in MY home office. Many of the tips you shared I do. One of the things I do, which is helpful, is I make sure to walk several times a day. It gives me a chance to get fresh air, be in nature, move my body, and refresh. This way I’m not sitting at my computer all day without breaks. I take other breaks too during the day, but they aren’t all outdoor breaks.

    • Janet Schiesl on January 17, 2022 at 8:50 pm

      You are the second person who mentioned taking walks. I think you’ve got a great idea there. It is hard to set and keep boundaries these days, with time just running together.

  4. Seana Turner on January 17, 2022 at 12:11 pm

    Creating rituals around the beginning and end of the workday is a terrific idea. It helps us know when we are “on” and when we are “off,” which is so hard to figure out these days.

    I find walking into a specific place for specific activities helps me with this. I have a place where I work on blog posts, one where I work on administrative tasks, and one where I take care of social media stuff. Of course, when I’m working with clients, I am largely in person, with clear “start” and “stop” times. I do have a place where I prefer to do my virtual sessions. That took a little setting up, but now it is working well.

    All of these help me construct boundaries on my time, which helps me not feel guilty when I’m not working.

    • Janet Schiesl on January 17, 2022 at 8:48 pm

      Wow! You really like to spread out. I’m just the opposite. I have one place. I like having everything there and I also like being able to switch from one project to another without moving.

  5. Julie and Karl Stobbe on January 17, 2022 at 4:42 pm

    The transition I have set up on at home office days and Covid lockdown days are walks at the beginning of my workday and at the end. It is really nice to go outside, walk, get fresh air before beginning supper and other evening events and chores. The activity of getting up from my desk to go outside puts a definite end to the work day.

    • Janet Schiesl on January 17, 2022 at 8:46 pm

      I like your boundaries solution. Taking a walk is a great idea. It would also give you a mental break before starting family time. Good idea.

  6. Julie Bestry on January 18, 2022 at 2:29 am

    These are all great tips. From the very beginning of working from a home office 20 years ago, I set boundaries to not let my home life interfere with my work life. From the beginning, I set rules: no housework or TV watching before 6 p.m., and no social phone calls except on my lunch hour. I’m great at keeping my personal life out of my work life, but I’m terrible at keeping my work life out of my personal life. COVID has only made this more pronounced. I’ve tried going out and walking at the end of the business day, but I still meander over to work email and websites. I suspect the only solution would be to shut down my computer altogether, but because I spend most of my entire life (personal as well as work) in front of a screen, that might be an iffy proposition. Hopefully, when COVID is over and I can interact with other humans again, I’ll be able to converse with a Zoom screen in front of me!

    • Janet Schiesl on January 18, 2022 at 6:57 am

      You are the 3rd person to mention taking a walk at the end of the work day. I’m going to try that. Maybe that would work for me too.

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