The Jagged Line

There’s a line to be drawn, no matter how jagged it is – you still have to draw it. I am talking about the invisible line between home and work when you’re a work at home parent.

So much has been written and said about drawing a line between your home/family life and your business life. Most people would assume that you have to keep your family out of your business in order to be disciplined in order to stay focused on your job and business.

Many people can tell you that in order to keep your family life from encroaching into your business life, but in order to keep your business functioning, you have to also keep your business OUT OF YOUR FAMILY LIFE.

Yes, this means, you should have personal space too, at home.

This is important, to most of us because we have a shared space between home and family. It’s easy to confuse the both of them up and start getting both lives mingled together. For instance, your children would be asking you to help with their homework when you’re in the middle of something important. Your children fall sick and your clients are chasing after you for something – which one is more important? You’d say the deadline, huh? So would I – some time back.

But I have been in this freelancing and home-for-work business for more than half a decade now and I understand one thing now – it depends on when your clients are calling you.

If they call you during family time, you have to tell them that you will get to it a little bit later on when you are working. The line between work and family time should NOT be blurred.

Why is this important?

Well, for one thing, if you have specific time for both your lives, you would feel more satisfied with your working arrangements. You wouldn’t be disgruntled, dissatisfied or angry with your clients about taking your precious family time from you! Imagine if your work is taking up your weekdays and weekends too – wouldn’t that actually defeat the purpose of working from home? You might as well NOT be working from home if you were spending more time at work (or is less available to your children and family), wouldn’t you agree?

So, workaholics like me – it’s best to actually draw a very clear line between family life and working life – even if they are one and the same.

For me, as example, I work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. Yes, that’s true and I have a tagline too – the freelancer that doesn’t sleep. But then again, it doesn’t mean that I don’t sleep or I don’t have a personal life. I will answer queries and phone calls and emails at un-godly hours. My response rate is normally very quick. But I have definite working hours.

I work from 10.00a.m. till 2p.m. and then 3.30pm. till about 5.30pm. Then after my kids go to sleep, I spend another few hours working before conking out with my kids in my arms in bed…right next to my computer (my office).  I tell my live-in maid that between those hours, unless it’s a life and death situation, I am not to be to interrupted. I keep to my time religiously.

During weekends, I will only attend to phone calls and emails and not do any work at all unless necessary. For most projects, they require me to complete things for them by MONDAY, which would mean that I have to work over the weekend. But I schedule it into the Saturday and not touch anything for the entire Sunday! And for rush projects that requires me to work over the weekend, I would normally charge them a ‘rush fee’ because I don’t want to encourage them to use my weekends for work.

This is essential for a good working environment for any homepreneur. Believe you me, it will make a happier and more effective business person.