Whenever I tell people that my boyfriend, Kenny, and I both work from home, their mouths kind of drop. They’re not sure whether we’re clinically insane or just crazy in love.
For the record, we’re both. (I’m kidding. We’re not insane, people. C’mon!) He runs his own staffing company, and I’m a freelance writer. We’re still learning as we go, of course, but here are five rules that have helped us maintain our sanity, kick ass on the job and keep that spark alive so far.
Rule #1: Work in separate rooms
This is by far our biggest rule. He has a small office upstairs that he works out of, and I have my own little space downstairs where I do all of my writing. Now, if you actually run a company together, this is going to be a bit more of a challenge. However, it can be done. My suggestion is the two of you create a schedule that allows you (whenever possible) to work independently. No one, not even the most in love couples, can spend 24/7 together without wanting to rip the other’s head off. Trust me, it ain’t healthy.
Rule #2: Respect each other’s space
Does he hate it when you barge in on him during the day unannounced or vice versa? I personally know that I have a tendency to do this (which Kenny hates), so lately I’ve been putting forth a huge effort to respect his space by trying to send him emails instead. This way, I can tell him what I need to tell him, but I won’t interrupt his train of thought while he’s busy. G-Chat and AIM are also great as long as you don’t abuse the privilege.
Rule #3: Set some boundaries
Going right along with rule number two, it’s important to set up some boundaries. For instance, what time will your workday begin and end? Are there specific hours that you absolutely cannot be disturbed? Will the two of you take a break to have lunch together (we always do)? Understanding exactly what each individual needs to thrive on the job and to make the arrangement work is key to keeping the peace between the sheets, if you know what I mean.
Rule #4: Know when to sign off
When your office is in your home, it can be very difficult to separate work from your personal life. In fact, you almost feel guilty if you’re not tied to your desk 24/7. However, as hard as we both do work, Kenny and I always try to carve out time for each other. For example, if neither of us has lunch or dinner plans, we’ll eat, talk and just hang out. On some evenings, we have certain shows we’ll watch together. And then, of course, there’s always the weekends. You don’t want to wind up feeling like you’re living with a co-worker with benefits instead of with your man!