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Body Clock Blues: Beating Them through Time Management

One of the best things about working from home is that you can adapt your work routine to your body clock. While we understand that telecommuters often must be at a desk during the business hours of their in-office counterparts, home office entrepreneurs gain a degree of flexibility.

Respecting your internal body clock means not taking a lunch hour at noon because the rest of the world is taking a lunch hour at noon. Some days you may be hungry for lunch at 11:00 A.M. Some days at 3:00 P.M. Body clock means freedom to powernap and freedom to take a time-out at 2:30 P.M. to greet the kids as they walk through the door after school and then not return to the home office until 7:00 P.M. It can mean the freedom to work out when the gym is less crowded, to take a break to do yoga, or hit the golf course. It can mean taking off a half-day every Monday to do volunteer work or pursue a hobby or dream, or hitting the tennis court each Wednesday with your old college roommate, and then working an hour extra each of the other weekdays.

However, many of us have been slaves to the nine-to-five world for so long that we aren't even sure what our body clock is telling us. Working from home means it's time to get in tune with yourself. Let go of the world's regimentation and figure out what your work hours are going to be so you are at your peak performance.

Most people know whether they are "early birds" or "night owls." Or do they? One way to discover your true body clock is to look at your sleeping, eating, and alertness patterns on the weekend. When do you feel at your brightest? When do you sense your energy is sagging? If weekends are equally full of kids' soccer games, errands, and early-rising, but you wonder if perhaps you would do better by rising very early and napping later in the day, you can experiment. Or, watch your body clock on vacation. Though vacation often brings with it excess, often people (especially parents) are surprised to find that even when they can sleep in, their eyes open by 7:00 A.M. anyway.

Another method to determine your true body clock is to closely examine your energy levels during a typical workday. When you find yourself combating fatigue at the same time each day, when you work from home you can schedule yourself a coffee break, a short snooze, or 20 minutes of yoga or walking. Take advantage of you being the boss—anything is possible.

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