The work-at-home lifestyle has its ups and downs. From a decade’s worth of experience, I can tell you that achieving that vaunted balance between work and family life is a real trick. Configuring a home office for optimal productivity is key. I’m not just talking about setting up your workplace with the right computer desk and ergonomic seating. I’m talking about the whole enchilada, from lighting, to acoustics, to location, to a basic semblance of sanity.

With a free form schedule, staying on task can be a daily struggle. In my case, I’m easily distracted and so are our dogs. Yip and Yap will bark at anything that moves. The dogs’ distraction quickly leads to my distraction. After fifteen seconds of rapid-fire barking, I can’t help but yell at them to clam up.

This drove me nuts until I stumbled on a simple solution to get the dogs to stop barking. I can now work for hours on end without being disturbed by our four-footed friends.

I love the daytime lighting in my home office, because there’s rarely a need to turn on a bulb. All of my workday lighting needs are filled by natural lighting. The southern and western walls of my office are filled with windows. While this is especially nice in the spring and fall when I can work with the windows open, it took a good bit of time to find the right combination of shades and position the computer monitors to avoid glare.

Unfortunately, the nighttime lighting is less than optimal. I’m still trying to work out the right combination of floor and desk lamps.

And then there’s the basic semblance of sanity…

While my office is somewhat out of the flow of household traffic, it’s still close enough to the action that there are plenty of distractions. There’s little soundproofing between the office and the kitchen and the distance between my desk and the refrigerator is just a bit too short. Truth be told, I’ve given serious thought to building another small outbuilding in the backyard to get my office completely out of the flow. I’ve become so enamored with the idea that I’m working on a book proposal about home office sheds.

Life imitates art. Or is that vice versa?

[tags]home office, self employed, self employment, distraction, ergonomic seat[/tags]