When you freelance or work from home, the boundary between your personal self and your professional self tends to blur.
The risk of identity confusion and incorrect data is constant. (And the temptation to eat at your desk or play at work is often!) One email is sent to the wrong address or another an inconspicuous selfie posted on your social media profile could get you fired.
As we reduce the potential for such disasters and better integrate into work and life, we look at how you separate your work and personal lives in the digital world.
1. Keep separate network identities
Start working with email. Do not use this address for services that are not related to your work. Use your personal email address instead.
(If you work as a freelancer, book a dedicated mailbox for the job. If you want to maintain a professional image, it’s ideal to get a custom domain and email address with it.)
For convenience, you can check all emails or webmail services sent to your workplace and personal mailboxes from the same location that can handle multiple accounts.
Now the main bit: set up different profile pictures for your work and personal email accounts. For best results, use Gravatar to set an avatar for each email account. Once you’ve done this, each time you use one of your email addresses online, a corresponding unique profile picture will appear with it.
What are the benefits of this?
You are always aware that you are using the right account for any online activity you plan to do. This helps when you send strongly formatted email, leave a comment on a website, or share sensitive files.
You may also want to have separate social media accounts for work and personal use. However, professional social media networking has certain requirements
The necessities of professional networking on social media
this does not necessarily apply to the personal area.
2. Use separate devices
If you limit your work-related and personal tasks to separate devices, you don’t have to worry about mixing data or identities. You can turn one device into a productivity center and another into an entertainment and administrator area.
You don’t have to go out and buy a new gadget to make this work. Try using a desktop or laptop computer only for work and a phone only for personal tasks and media consumption. A Chromebook is also the perfect device for personal use.
It can be tedious to switch between two devices, but that’s an idea. It makes sure that when you work, you work and when you play, you play.
If procrastination is your nemesis or workaholic, you have your own tool and with extinguishing ritual can help you fight it. This is a great way to ensure a work-life balance.
3. Create separate user accounts on the desktop
If you use the same device for both work and personal activities, it is ideal to create separate user accounts or profiles for them.
You can use your personal account for daily administrators, blogging, watching movies and TV shows, and following newsletters. You can also use it for casual web browsing and as an application testing area.
But when you log in to your work account, it’s going to be like you’re dressed for work and stepping into the “zone”. By the way, some people find that dressing really helps them be more productive when working from home.
4. Separate browsers or browser profiles
Don’t want to switch back and forth between user accounts? Why don’t you switch between browsers? You can share your digital activity with a combination of Chrome and Firefox, or Safari and Opera.
This approach allows you to keep your work browser skinny. All the resource-intensive operation of a personal browser is limited to that.
You can play with all sorts of interesting extensions in your personal browser without slowing down your work browser. You also don’t have to worry about shuffling bookmarks or leaving search history in your work account.
If Chrome or Firefox is one of your preferred browsers, you can do so download different profiles for work and play
6 custom Google Chrome profiles you should start using
instead of using separate browsers.
Although Opera may have multiple user profiles, the method for setting them is a bit circular. You will find it this thread in the Opera forums.
It’s unfortunate that Safari doesn’t support multiple user profiles. You can’t even add them with an extension because of Apple’s System Integrity Protection (SIP) feature. But don’t worry, you can quickly switch between user accounts from the Mac menu bar.
5. Separate applications and tools
Of course, your work may not be limited to the browser. But you can still keep your work-related and personal actions sorted by separate apps, brands, apps, and their ecosystems.
For example, if you use a OneNote job for work, you can store non-work items in Evernote. Or, if you use iCloud or Microsoft apps for your personal information, you can use Google Apps for work.
Setting up applications to separate work and personal functions may seem like a lot of effort at first, but once everything is in place, workflows are sorted better. And with the import / export and cloud backup capabilities of the apps, data transfer is no problem.
Sharing functions with digital and analog tools can also work. For example, you can use Trello, Google Calendar, and Evernote. For personal use, you can go with the actual Kanban sheet, paper designer and paper Bullet. (You don’t have to go to extremes like exchanging personal emails for handwritten letters!)
This last approach has worked quite well for me. Using a laptop computer, mainly to work, I have been able to reduce screen time considerably.
Dress up yourself online for work
In a traditional work environment, your work life is physically and digitally removed from the personal. As a freelancer or teleworker, you can get the same physical space by setting up a home office. But you also need a digital barrier, and the responsibility to create it is once again responsible.
Separating work and personal life is the first step towards be a successful mobile phone
5 tips and advice for successful telecommuting
. And if you do it as a precaution, in all likelihood, you don’t have to do it as a damage management tactic.
Photo credit: Olivier26 /depositphotos