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copyright ©1999-2001

keeping from going 
nuts in the home office

by Dariush 
1 2 3 

What’s more annoying than blinking LEDs and the whirring fans of your home office computer when you’re in bed trying to go to sleep, after a twelve hour fix spent slouching over your keyboard, thanks to an ungrateful and poorly paying client? Well, that’ll be your fax modem going off — right when you’re about to put that special romantic move you read about in Maxim on the hot date that you managed to somehow get into your bedroom.

Boom, you blew it; she’s out the door and you’re left with a half bottle of Bully Hill red wine and a new set of changes that your client insists you take care of by the next morning. Nice luck Romeo. Try getting an office next time.

Well, easier said than done. As life gets increasingly sophisticated, and work encroaches further into our personal lives, it has become virtually impossible not to have an office at home. Ideally, that notion of a home office should sound like a paradox, but more and more, we find ourselves pushing away our home stuff to make yet another 19 square inches of room for some bigass monitor. And end up resenting our living spaces as a result.

The thing that hurts more than losing all that square footage is the psychological space it takes up in your head. All of the office crap that typically goes into a working office — the PC, the printer, the modem, the manuals, the books ad nauseum — not only manages to spread itself around your living space, but tends to crawl under your skin after time. This is especially true when you have little or no physical barrier between your home and office. You wake up in the morning and that pile of papers beckons you. You go to bed at night and the last thing you see before your close your eyes is the vision of your monitor shutting down. And if you’re not careful, you’ll end up living in your office, and not working in your home.

The most flagrant infiltration is when the office is set up smack in the middle of the same space in which one would sleep. And man, that straight out sucks. If you can help it, by all means keep those infernal office machines out of the bedroom. There’s nothing more annoying than watching red and green LEDs as you try to count sheep after a grueling day. Along with the constant hum of the PC keeping you from your REM, there’s not much you can do to keep from losing your religion. And then there’s just the mere sight of "work" to instigate tension.

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