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I have been self-employed semi-successfully for a little under a year now. My partner works in education and now has most of the summer off.

I normally work in the living room, but as I feel it would be a major distraction to have her there--and I don't want to banish her--I decided to work at the junk desk in the bedroom for the foreseeable future.

The issue is that the change of situation has had a very bad impact on my work style. I generally work in 2-hour or so bursts, both during the day when she is at work and after she has gone to bed. Now, however, I feel a strange compulsion to treat it more like a 9-to-5 and only come out of the bedroom for lunch and for toilet breaks.

Strangely, this has compounded itself to the point where I end up doing useless tasks or even just browse online(!) to kill the time, and even though I am technically putting in more hours I am getting a lot less done. I am pretending to work -- to myself.

Is this a known problem, and does anyone know the causes or potential solutions that have worked?

  • I agree with the below answer. Also, try to make routine or/and use pomadora timer to make things happen. Also, try analyzing yourself. Sometimes, you have internal disturbs that prevent you from being focused. – Dmytro Chasovskyi Jul 23 at 13:54
  • @DmytroChasovskyi Pomadora? – Weckar E. Jul 23 at 20:45
  • Pomadora technique. I found it useful when procrastinate myself. I am personally using Kanbanflow (not ad) but anything similar should be sufficient. – Dmytro Chasovskyi Jul 24 at 8:00
  • @DmytroChasovskyi Ah, PomOdoRO. No wonder I couldn't find it. Never heard of it before. Doesn't quite feel like it would work for me as I generally prefer to maintain flow for several hours straight--this isnt programming we're talking about here. – Weckar E. Jul 24 at 9:30
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does anyone know the causes or potential solutions that have worked?

Maybe you feel guilty for making money more easily than your partner. Perhaps you know she would be jealous or disturbed by knowing that you make way more than her in your spare time while she's slaving in the office.

And/or you could be afraid that if you give her your time she will feel entitled to that time every day. But remember that you are in control of it. Just because you give her an extra hour today doesn't mean she's entitled to it tomorrow.

People get burned out. If you're stressed by work then it's natural to want to have downtime and relax. Except if you don't structure your day you'll end up doing it in the middle of the day. That's fine if you plan for it and make up the time elsewhere. Otherwise you're just hurting yourself in the long run. Whatever you're making now, you could be making twice that or more if you put 100% effort in. You need to stay hungry and spend your spare time looking for more clients/growing your business. Imagine what will happen if you suddenly lost most/all of your clients. It could happen any random day.

Try to setup a regular schedule of productive things to do during the day.

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    I think she actually makes more than me, but a very valuable answer nonetheless. – Weckar E. Jul 23 at 20:49
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Weckar,

I think it is wise that you have these self-imposed time and space limits. I have a similar issue. Most of the year, I have free run of the house, but, in the summer, there is someone else - who isn't working - to consider. I do something similar myself. I work in one room from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon and 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm (or 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm).

It is difficult to make the switch, but it is important. It is all too easy to start a conversation on which the other person has no limit. I also find that the person who doesn't work from home have a very hard time telling the difference between me working and me taking a break.

If there is a certification for which you have been meaning to study or skill-building that you have been putting off, this could be a good time to work on that if your work-load doesn't take up the full time. Increasing and improving your skills is an investment in your business and is a perfectly legitimate use of your "work time."

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