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Dump the Cubicle Mentality

For folks like me who have had years of cubicle training, it’s not easy to dump the cubicle mentality and unlearn everything you’ve learned. If you’ve worked in an office for most, if not all, of your professional career, switching up to work from home in your own business requires some transitioning.

Humor me for a little bit while I address my largest cubicle deprogramming. It’s all about the number of hours you work.

Employee Work Hours

As a person working at home, do you feel you must work 7 or 8 straight hours to get things done? The thought of someone interrupting you sends you into a tailspin, right? It’s that darned cubicle mentality.

Think about it. How many hours a day does the average office worker work? If they come in at 8:00 (usually 10 or 15 minutes late), get settled, get coffee, walk the office saying the daily hello’s, make the bathroom run and then get settled, you’re looking at 8:30 to 8:45 start work time.

There’s the 10 minutes before and after lunch. It takes 10 minutes to go to the bathroom, send e-mails or interoffice phone calls to get the lunch group together to decide where to eat, get the coat/purse/wallet etc. and then finally go to lunch. Then, of course, there’s the 10 minutes after lunch to repeat the ritual in reverse.

Smokers get smoke breaks and the really lenient employer allows for bathroom breaks.

There’s the surfing the Internet, the broken copy machine, the call to the help desk for computer issues, the occasional fire drill, the office birthday, going away or baby shower parties. No, these don’t occur daily, but they do occur.

When it’s all said and done, the average worker works anywhere from 4.5 to 5.5 hours a day. Not too bad for collecting a paycheck, if that’s the way you want to live your life.

Home Worker Work Hours

The work at home person tends to put in more hours simply because the work is always a footstep or a mouse click away. A fitful night of sleep can mean an extra hour or two of work. The lack of dress code and commute squeezes in an additional 2 to 3 hours of work time. Just the lack of commute and an occasional sleepless night for the work at homer is just about the equivalent to a cubicle mate’s full day of work.

True Work Hours

Not including the couple of hours squeezed in as a result of the lack of commute and lack of dress code let’s talk about the real work at home time. You managed to get the kids off to school and the spouse off to work and you are finally alone to get some work done.

You brew your coffee, or squeeze your wheat grass, sit at your computer with your morning beverage of choice and start working. Engrossed in your work, you eventually look up from your computer and it’s already lunchtime. You’ve been working non-stop for hours. Where did the time go? You were so engaged in your work, you didn’t notice the time.

Just for grins, let’s stop the workday here. You get up from the computer, shower, get dressed, eat and run a few errands. You’re feeling a little frantic because you know the kids will be home soon and you’ve got more work to do.

Unwarranted guilt begins to creep upon you (here’s the cubicle mentality rearing it’s ugly head again). You feel like you should work more to accomplish more (that blasted cubicle training). Before you let the guilt really force you to run back to the computer, stop and add up your work hours. The couple of hours when you couldn’t sleep, plus the lack of commute/dress time and the hours you worked up until lunchtime would probably total somewhere around 5 to 7 hours.

Dump the Guilt

You already surpassed your cubicle counterpart. They average 4.5 to 5.5 hours. Now, being the driven person that you are, you don’t stop there. After you’re through with your daily family obligations and manage to squeeze out a couple more work hours at the end of the day.

If nothing else, you should be commended for your dedication and work ethic. Eradicate the guilt and the cubicle mentality. The sooner you dump the guilt and transition from the cubicle mentality, the sooner you can convert that energy towards promoting your business.

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