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The Working Day

How Much Time Should You Spend Working Each Day?

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Recently on Buiznus, I talked about attaining a good work-life balance. In that article, one of the methods for attaining a better balance was making a clear-cut decision about when you’ll work and how many hours you spend working each day, and sticking to those hours. We throw work-life balance off by creeping past those hours to get “just that bit more” done.

But how do you define the amount of time you need to spend working each day? How do we arrive at a workable figure that provides you with balance, and yet allows you to get your work done? It’s a difficult problem to solve, because we’re not in the corporate rat race. The 9-to-5 working cycle is, for us, pretty arbitrary, and part of freelancing is taking control of the way you want to do things. So do you just stick with the 9-to-5 for the sake of convenience or do you divvy up your weekly hours in a way that’s suited to you?

How many hours you work in a day, when those hours are, and the length and timing of your breaks are dependent on a variety of factors. Let’s take a look.


5 Techniques for Guarding the Sanctity of the Home Office

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Undeniably, one of the most difficult things about working at home is keeping people from perpetually distracting you during the workday, simply because you’re right there and they have nothing better to do. Or want you to take the trash out right then and there (hey, it has happened to me!).

To get anything done, you’ve really got to guard the home office and its status as a distraction-free zone. You’ve got to guard it so fiercely, you might even call it guarding the sanctity of the office. Here are five methods I use for keeping distractions at bay.

1. Door Closed, Door Half-Closed, Door Open

I created some signals regarding the level of concentration I require at any given time by assigning different rules for when the office door is closed, half-open, or fully open.

In my home, if the door is closed, I’m not to be interrupted. I’m focusing, I’m churning through my work and trying to get to the other end of the day. I’m probably putting together an article or working through a marketing plan. Unless my boy has cracked his head open on the wall corner or my wife’s gone into labor, I don’t want to know about it.


How to Manage Your Work-Life Balance and Reduce Stress

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Work-life balance is a problem for many people. Not just freelancers, either—anyone who works in a job that involves some kind of thinking is tempted to take work home with them. I suppose that maintaining a good balance is one of the benefits to menial shift work.

But freelancers have it worst. Without an employer, our income is more dependent on performance than any corporate employee’s income. And for the vast majority of us, there’s no real distinction between our home life and our work life, because our work life happens at home.

Here’s the thing that we lose sight of: becoming a workaholic does not improve your bottom-line or productivity.

When you work every day, all day, with no time set aside for living life, you just get more stressed. You lose sight of reality. You get out of touch with creativity, which is just as important for producing quality work as it is for innovating in business. You take much longer to do things and you get so exhausted that you sit there looking at the screen for hours.

There are no benefits to living a workaholic lifestyle. Let me emphasize that:

No benefits.

I have struggled with this problem for years. I’ve since solved it and struck a balance I’m happy with, but it plagued my family life and my stress levels for much longer than I’m proud to admit.


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