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A Day of Rest for Those Who Work at Home
The Tyranny of Working at Home
There is much said about the advantages of working for yourself at home and online. And it's all true. Being able to choose your working hours, to work in casual clothes (pajamas even), and to avoid the morning commute are all pluses. But there are downsides as well to blogging, freelance writing, and internet marketing.
When you work at home, you don't have the luxury of leaving work at work. Your computer is always there twenty-four hours each day, tempting you to get just a little more done. You may have a smartphone that constantly informs you of new emails and new Tweets. The draw to check email one more time is almost irresistible.
The line between home life and work life is blurred because you are tending to children while you're brainstorming a new article or putting on a load of laundry as you check your traffic numbers. You become a master multi-tasker and no longer have a clear division between earning money and enjoying your family. You convince yourself that you can do both at the same time.
The answer to this lifestyle is a day of rest.
Taking a Rest From Online Work
What is a Day of Rest?
In the ancient Jewish tradition, the day of rest was called the Sabbath. Observing this day is actually one of the Ten Commandments found in the Old Testament book of Exodus. Because God rested from his work of creation, man was instructed to rest from his work for an entire day each week.
Whether you appreciate the Bible or not, the value of rest is firmly proven. I'm not talking about sleep here although that is a component of rest. I love to nap on my day of rest, but the main point is not to work.
Focus on other worthwhile pursuits:
- connect with nature
Do anything, but don't work.
It is counter-intuitive, but taking a break from work actually increases your productivity. You return to your money making ventures with a fresh dose of energy, creativity, and vision.
If you work at home, test yourself against these workaholic tendencies.
1. You check email and site stats before getting out of bed or soon thereafter.
2. You get antsy when one of your important sites (an affiliate program or publishing platform, for example) is down.
3. You sit down to just check email and two hours pass before you realize you are still at the computer.
4. You "watch" the family movie with your computer in your lap as you work on your latest article or project.
5. You decline real life social engagements because of Twitter parties or webinars you think will promote your online work.
If you can relate to three of these five, you urgently need to schedule a day of rest into your work at home routine.
Your Family Will Thank You
Did you choose this work at home lifestyle so that you could spend more time with the ones you love? Consider how you are fulfilling that desire. Are you so consumed with your work that you are a work at home workaholic?
Let the irony of that sink in.
Do you actually spend quality time with your family just work alongside them? Is physical presence enough or do you hope to actually interact with them in meaningful ways? Scheduling a day of rest means that your family can count on you to be there -- mentally and physically -- for at least that one day.
Reconnect With Hobbies and Passions
Maybe family wasn't your motivator to work at home. Maybe it was a hobby or some personal passion. Are you making time for what you care about or do you spend all your time working online?
Did you choose this path for freedom? Are you free? Or are you chained to your computer in an obsessive race to earn more and more?
How to Plan a Day of Rest
Your day of rest is very individual. No one can tell you when it should be because it really depends on your personal commitments and schedule.
Weekends may be ideal for a day of rest if family members are also not working. But that is not always true.
You may even find that your day of rest needs to shift from week to week, sometimes on a Saturday, sometimes on a Sunday or Tuesday. The point is to be sure to have a day of rest, not to be obsessive with which day it falls on.
If an entire day away from work seems impossible, try just a half day and see where it leads. You may benefit from a few half days of rest each week instead of a full day. Experiment and see what fits your work at home lifestyle.
How to Protect Your Day of Rest
No matter when you select, the point is not to work on that day.
So how do you define work? This gets tricky because our dependence on technology spills into our personal lives with texting, emails, and Facebook. You will have to find where to draw the lines.
- No checking work related emails.
- No Twitter.
- No checking blog stats and traffic numbers.
Those are things I don't do on my day of rest. Your list may look entirely different.
Realize where your temptations lie. I have a hard time checking email because I find projects that I "need to" work on. It is hard for me to read the email without tackling the project. So when I am taking my day of rest, I generally take a total break from the computer, not even turning it on. I have also chosen to turn off my smartphone notifications so that I'm not constantly bombarded with the possibility of some earth shattering email that I feel forced to check.
Have Family or Friends Keep You Accountable
Tell your loved ones about your resolve for a day of rest. They will probably be thrilled for you and will help you stick to your Sabbath.
If you live alone, tell your online friends and ask them to fuss at you if you turn up online during that time.
Do You Have a Day of Rest?
As one who works at home, do you give yourself times of rest?
Advantages to a Weekly Day of Rest
- increased productivity
- closer relationships (when you spend your rest time with them)
- better health
- less depression
- time to meditate, evaluate, and plan
- greater creativity
- enhanced problem solving (sudden realizations when you stop thinking about the problem)
- decreased stress
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