Drawing The Line Between Home And Office, Part 1 Read how to make a mental separation and get down to business when your home is your office.

If you're of the mind-set that your personal and businesslives should remain separate, here are a number of strategies tohelp you make the transition from one life to another as clean aspossible.

Dress up your office for business. For onefreelance public relations writer and president of a PR firm, thismeans putting the name of her business on the door to her homeoffice, so that as soon as she opens her office door in themorning, she knows she's at work. Conversely, when she shuts itat night, she's in a different mode entirely.

When an owner of a marketing consulting firm walks into hisoffice, the pictures on the wall project an overriding message-thathe'd better get down to business. Work-related photos andmementos are everywhere, and a huge calendar that tracks businessappointments eclipses one wall. People seeking clean transitionsand boundaries make every effort to keep children's toys out oftheir offices and work papers out of the dining room.

Dress yourself for your role. Few who work at homedon a suit when they move from the kitchen to their home office.But many people feel they need to be dressed in something otherthan a robe to get into the mental state of work. One entrepreneur,for instance, relies on shoes to symbolize the transition. Rightinside her office door is a pair of comfortable dress shoes, whichshe slips on when she enters her office for the day. Right outsidethe door are sneakers; she changes into these when she takes alunch break or leaves the office for the day. For her, the changeof shoes signals the transition from home to work and backagain.

Organize your life so you're not jumping back andforth between home and work. One way to handle thoughtsabout what has to be done in one part of the house while you'rein another is to keep two separate "to do" lists. The"work to do" is kept in the living part of your home,while the "home to do" is in the office. If you suddenlyremember something you have to do at work while you're wateringthe lawn in the evening, for example, don't rush into youroffice to do it. Write it down on your "work to do" list,and bring the list with you when you enter the office the nextmorning. Somehow, writing down a worry removes it as a distraction.It gives you license to say to yourself, "That's enough ofthat right now. I'll take care of it later."

See our tip on Monday, October 9 for part 2 of thisarticle.

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