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How to Set Boundaries When You Work From Home

Updated on November 17th, 2016

Working from home definitely has its perks. You can work in your pajamas, enjoy coffee in your own kitchen and set your own schedule just to name a few. Unfortunately, working from home also comes with some struggles.  At the top of the list is the need to set boundaries with family members who don’t get what you do for a living.

When you work from home, you become accustomed to family members calling you to run errands or handle non-work related things during your work hours. In some cases, you also may not have your own space to work from which leads to blurry lines.

The need to set boundaries when you work from home is a common issue among freelancers and one I’ve had to deal with personally. Here are some ways you can set boundaries when you work from home.

Say No

A common saying when people are learning to set boundaries is “No is a complete sentence.” This means that it’s okay to say no and you don’t need to constantly explain yourself.

When you work from home, you may need to be strong and say no until your face turns blue. There sometimes isn’t a need to explain what you do  as it just wastes time(they may never get it), so stick to saying no to requests.

Saying no is often times difficult for people. Especially when they are first starting out in business and try to get everything done in both business and life. If you need some help in this department check out the bestselling book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.

Manage Expectations With Your Family

One of the ways you set boundaries with clients is to manage their expectations. For example, you may tell them when you can get their project to them.

Guess what? You can try the same approach with your family.

Did your partner call you to remind you to do the laundry? Manage their expectations by telling them when you’d be able to get it done. You can say something like, “Sure honey, I can do that once I’m done working for the day.”

This lets them know that you aren’t totally ignoring their request while still mainiting a boundary so you can get your work done.

Just Leave The House

Leaving the house may sound like a drastic way to set boundaries, but it doesn’t have to be. I had a business coaching client earlier this year who was really struggling with setting boundaries with her family while she was working from home.

After trying the other tips in this article, they weren’t budging much. While there was some improvement, it wouldn’t last long.

One day when they were really interrupting her quite a lot, she got up and drove to her friend’s house so she could get some work done. She didn’t explain herself (remember, “no” is a complete sentence) she just up and left.

She continued to do this for a while until her family members learned that they could fend for themselves when she wasn’t around. It also taught them that their requests could wait until she was done working. From that point on she’s had a much easier time getting her family to respect her boundaries while she works.

If a friend’s house isn’t an option, you can try coffee shops, co-working offices or libraries. The world is full of options if you need to get work done out of your home.

Final Thoughts

If you’re struggling with family members who aren’t respecting your boundaries while you work from home, just note that you aren’t alone.

 

Peter Daisyme

Peter Daisyme

Peter Daisyme is the co-founder of Palo Alto, California-based Hostt, specializing in helping businesses with hosting their website for free, for life. Previously he was the co-founder of Pixloo, a company that helped people sell their homes online, that was acquired in 2012.

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