By September 28, 2011 Read More →

If you can work anywhere, how do you ever switch off?

Are home workers slackers?Technology enables us to work remotely in all sorts of places that not long ago would never have been considered suitable – bedrooms, hotels, airport lounges and so on. This has given many people the freedom to ditch the commute and live in a location of their own choosing, but it also brings its own challenges. Chief among those is the danger of being constantly “at work” when there is no clear delineation between on and off time.

Many of us who are home or mobile workers are doing something we are passionate about. We have given up jobs that failed to fire us up in order to freelance or set up a small business that uses a talent. In my own experience, I don’t feel I’m “working” in the same sense I was when I was employed; I am simply expressing myself in a way that feels natural, so working at what would traditionally be considered odd hours is not particularly a problem.

Despite this, after a while I started to feel that I could be more creative and productive if I chose my work hours more carefully and actively planned to get out of the house. I found that meeting people, and not necessarily people connected with my business, gave me a boost that never happened at my desk. I therefore pop out to meet a friend for coffee these days at whatever time suits us both.

I’ve come to believe that successful home working means creating your own schedules, regardless of the conventional 9 to 5. The most creative home and mobile workers learn to switch on and off at any time in order to meet deadlines and – more importantly – give their brains a break and fuel their imaginations.

This ability only seems to come with experience. Most new home workers stick to their old office patterns for a while before becoming more aware of their freedom. I’m interested in this way that work is developing and how the boundary between so-called work and leisure is blurring.

How do you mix up your time? Does it feel different from what you have done before?

This post was first published on, the site for people who work out of coffee shops, hotels, airports and their homes every bit as much as the office.

Posted in: Routine

5 Comments on "If you can work anywhere, how do you ever switch off?"

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  1. Sharon Kellett says:

    After years of living the corporate life I left and set up my own business mid last year. I do try to work normal office hours but I’m also flexible to making up time. However, I have very clear TO DO’s on a daily basis and once they are done I do take a break. Sometimes I come back to it and other times I give myself the time off. It depends on my energy levels and what is on my TO DO list for the next few days. Having clear priorities helps.

    • judy says:

      Congratulations on your new business, Sharon! You’ve mentioned a very important point – I’ve always really appreciated the way home working allows me to tailor my day to my energy levels. We all have times when nothing seems to flow no matter how hard we try, and it’s nice to be able to go and do something completely different instead of trying to look busy for someone else’s benefit!

  2. Caradiaz says:

    I agree with Sharon above. Working for yourself gives you the (priceless) flexibility to do things in your own time, making sure, of course that the work gets done. When it is your business, nobody will do the work for you…

    On an ordinary day, a quick walk about in the garden to stretch my legs usually does the trick for me. And when I’m on holiday, I’m actually quite good at staying away from my laptop, unless something urgent comes up.

    • Judy says:

      And I’m sure that’s especially welcome during pregnancy, Marisol 🙂 There must be times when the best thing to do is rest.

      • Caradiaz says:

        Absolutely, Judy. Luckily, I have been coping well so far but I have another 3 months to go and I’m sure I’ll have to start taking it easy nearer the time.