B is for Boundaries – Working from home

Thank you to George who is a lovely less-stuff Patreon for this idea. I’ve been working at home for so long I’m hopeful that some of my strategies will help other people.

Do you work from home?  Putting boundaries in place can help you feel more relaxed and in control of the situation.

I’ve worked from home for 15 years now so I’ve got some good strategies to help work take over from the rest of your life.

Stick to working hours

It is really easy to let work creep into life when you work at home. To work well you need to rest, you don’t need to be multi tasking and checking emails late into the night. Set an alarm clock for break times, make sure you have lunch away from the work area and unless you need to do overtime stop at ‘home time’. I’m self employed which means I don’t need to keep to certain working hours but I still have a working day. Otherwise I wouldn’t stop and it would break me!

Designate things for work and play

If you can, use a different computer for home and work. It means you can easily shut work off.  Do not have access to work email on your home computer. Have work pens, work paper, a work chair and a work table. Use these things just for work and nothing else. Get it into your head that when work stops, you don’t use any work things. This strategy might sound like it is taking things too far but it really does work. Any connection you have to work when you are trying to rest will make relaxation harder. We generally don’t settle down for a Netflix binge with coffee and knitting in an office. Save the sofa for non work activities.

Carve out space

When I was running an online business making kids t-shirts, the stock room was my bedroom. I had 2 walls of shelves stuffed with boxes, a computer and printer. A table for wrapping parcels up. I went to bed looking at it and I woke up looking at it. I was pretty stressed out most of the time!

I decided it was better for my mental health to lose living space, I moved it all into the front room and kept my bedroom as a sanctuary which made me feel much better.

Recently I’ve just moved my work computer into a tiny space under the stairs. It means I don’t look at all the time which was making me feel guilty for not working. It is not the nicest working environment but it does mean that my house feels like a home, which has priority.

If at all possible, do not work in the kitchen. You are likely to put on weight because food is just an arms reach away and if you live with other people they will need to use that space too. Working in the kitchen makes things harder in the long run.

Cover it up

Out of sight, out of mind! If you can’t designate a space for work stuff then hide it when work stops! Put it behind the sofa, throw a scarf over it, put it in a box and give your mind a rest!

Here is a handy checklist for you.

  • What days do you work?
  • What hours do you work each day?
  • When is break time?
  • When is lunch time?
  • Where is your work space?
  • Where do you keep your work things?
  • Have you divided up work and home things?
  • How will you hide work at home time?
  • How will you make sure you rest when you are not working?

Best of luck with working at home. Personally I love it.

Hi. I'm Lisa

Less-waste is where I share the little things I find that help me lead a more ethical life, on a super tight budget.
I also run  less-stuff for people who love their belongings and want to declutter gently.
My social media accounts represent both websites.

  • You can find me on Instagram if you want to see snapshots of real life on my feed.
  • I’m on Twitter and try to join in on chats about organic food, gardening and living ethically.
  • The Facebook page is where I share info from others.
  • I’m also on Pinterest where I've gathered really good resources to help us enjoy seasonal food. You will find boards about productivity and crafting there too.
  • You can find me on YouTube, testing eco-friendly products and attempting to film without being interrupted by a cat.
Lisa Cole