The first thing you need to do is determine when you will work, and only work during those hours. If work spills over, you need to have the self-discipline to say, “I can pick this up in the morning.”
The most common objection to this idea is that emergencies are constantly coming up. If emergencies are constantly cropping up, you need to do one of two things:
* Improve your personal productivity and get your act together.
* Manage your clients better—emergencies suddenly crop up less often when they know your boundaries.
When your home and professional life occur in the same place, it is absolutely essential to firewall by location. You need to keep personal and professional locations totally separate.
If you live in a studio apartment or some other one-room accommodation, this isn’t impossible. You just have to learn to firewall without actual walls: pick a corner, stick your desk there, and refuse to go near it when you’re not working.
Similarly, you need to define areas where work can’t take place, such as the living room and the bedroom. Some people say they work best in the bedroom (no, your dirty buggers, I didn’t mean it like that), and that’s fine—just make sure there is somewhere in your home you can be work-free. Though I’m willing to bet people who say they work best in the bedroom have poor work-life balance!