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For some time I believed the amount of work I accomplished each day was directly related to my total morning coffee intake. Coffee’s my most important work tool. To test my theory, I stopped drinking coffee. For the first few days, my theory was proven true. (It is hard to work when you fall asleep at your computer.) But then I adjusted and stayed up later to get my once-morning work done later at night. I finally realized I get most of my best work done between 6 a.m. and noon. The same wasn’t holding true for my new 6 p.m. to midnight segment. So, this morning I went back to what worked, brewed a fresh pot of coffee and here I am. Tada!

Now I was faced with the question, “How do I fall asleep earlier when I’ve gotten used to staying up late each night?” The answer? Exercise. If your body wants to stay up and you want to rest, tire your body out: exercise for 15 minutes to relieve stress and take your mind off sleeping. Walk wonder-dog or swim a few laps in your tub. Try a few push-ups or search for spare change under the couch. Exercise can also promote healthy eating and provide energy.

And you’ll need that energy. How do you find time to work out, eat well, kick butt at work, raise a family, not drink too much coffee, and take care of your living space? Some of us are lucky enough to work from home at least part of the time: no commute, no office politics, no interruptions, one big weekend. Right? Well, speaking from experience, it sounds much better than the reality even if you are wired to the gills. Three mail accounts (which means email constantly pouring in), cell phone, fax, office phone, high speed Internet, multiple computers present a very different atmosphere from actual human co-workers. The isolation can drive you crazy. And those 15 annoying calls I receive per day from people trying to sell me something? None provides real human contact no matter how hard they try. In an office environment, the interaction we receive from our co-workers is extremely important for morale and productivity. Even if co-workers are two cubes away, at least you know they are there. A dog is hardly a substitute for a co-worker, and mine whines even more.

What do I do to fill the void? I needed more than just exercise and eating right. I joined with some home-workers in my area and we formed a small group that meets once a week to discuss projects, goals, and problems related to our work-at-home status. This helps but is still no substitute for a small cube on the fourth floor exactly 42 steps from the coffee machine.

Some things to think about before you move back home to work.

Greg Roberts, a triathlete, cyclist, and avid roller-blader has been the Webmaster of LiNE Zine since its inception—most of the time from his home—or the park. Send your comments and suggestions to greg@linezine.com

 

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