Productivity Tip – Keeping Home and Work Seperate

User AccountsIn years gone by, keeping your home life and your work life separate was easy.  At the end of day you left the office behind and went home to relax.  Even in recent times, with the proliferation of telecommuting, it was possible to close the door to your home office and leave the work behind.  This is a very important concept, you need to have a healthy separation between your home and your work, otherwise problems in one can easily lead to problems in the other.

The problem many people are having in recent times, especially those who telecommute, is that the computer is no longer used just for work.  Everyone and their dog uses the internet for recreation, shopping and time saving these days, which means that by shutting the door on your computer room, you are also shutting the door on a source of entertainment.  So how do you maintain the home work balance while still utilising the same tool, your computer, in both lives.  The answer is built into almost every operating system currently out there, user accounts.  I have set up two user accounts on my computer, one for work and one for play.

But setting up two user accounts isn’t enough for me.  I’m terribly undisciplined so I had to make sure I stayed focus when I’m working.  My answer to this is to remove the fun things from the account.  So no games and only work tools available.  I’ve even gone so far as to setting mail.app up so it only checks my work address when I’m logged on to that account.  This may sound overly strict but it really works and helps you stay focused.  And of course the flip side is that when I’m logged on to my “fun” account mail.app doesn’t check my work account.  if you find this not strict enough, you can even go so far as to block certain websites on your work account.  Yes, facebook, I’m talking about you!

It’s probably worth pointing out that using a Operating System like OSX switching between user accounts is a sub five second job.  So if the worse comes to the worse, you can always quickly jump into your other account.  But just by putting this, albeit easily bypassed, obstacle in the way, it really reduces the temptation and keeps you focused.