Stop and Go

Working from home is weird. You don’t leave in the morning, and you don’t pack up and head home in the evening. There’s no commute. These things that we typically punctuate the start and end of our work days with don’t exist. As a result, it can be hard to switch off. When your work computer is your home computer and you use the same machine for everything, it can be tricky to form an adequate disconnect.

Being a nerd, I’m using a couple of AppleScripts to add a little structure to starting and stopping my day. They are appropriately named Go.scpt and Stop.scpt. Here’s what they look like:

The Go script launches everything in my Dock and logs me into the Google Talk account that I use for work. The Stop script shuts down every work-related app and logs me out of my Google Talk account.1 I launch them with Alfred, which will index your AppleScripts if you check the right box in the app’s preferences.2

Alfred's Preferences

So, when I start work in the morning: ⌘-Space, go, Return, and I’m at work. At the end of the day, ⌘-Space, stop, Return, and my connection to work is severed. It’s shorter than a commute (hooray!), but it’s enough to help me switch gears mentally.

  1. The only work apps I leave open at the end of the day are and Chrome. I use Chrome for everything work-related and Safari for everything else. Choosy helps make this nearly seamless. Similarly, I use Airmail for work email and for personal accounts. This probably sounds tedious, but maintaining clear mental separation between work and home via the apps I use has been very comforting. 
  2. Alfred will look for scripts you’ve created with AppleScript Editor (even if you save them to iCloud). To use these scripts, copy them, launch AppleScript Editor, create a New Document, paste the script in, and save it. Alfred will find it.