It’s the dream to ditch the commute and work in yoga pants, but many people find the transition harder than they thought. Making it work is all about setting boundaries and testing what works best for your life.
Developing a work space
There are so many distractions at home that you don’t have in your office; those dishes in the sink from breakfast or that load of laundry waiting to be folded. You don’t have your regular co workers, but you do have family at home that don’t understand just because you are home, doesn’t mean you are not working. You may also find that friends and family now think you are available for anything and everything.
Set up some boundaries by making a space to work, complete with office hours. Create a space that is just for working where you can actually shut the door during your “office hours”, which allows you to focus and let little ones know you are unavailable. Explain to your family what your work hours are, and then communicate with them as you did before. Meaning, don’t give in to 30 minute phone conversations while you are working, even if you desperately want the distraction. Let your kids know that when the door is shut, they can only come in for emergencies. AND emergencies are not wanting a popsicle.
Finding a Schedule that works for you
Not only do you have to set boundaries for the people around you but also for yourself. It’s so easy to get pulled into the feeling of urgency to complete every task and serve every client. Basically, work all of the time. It’s hard to shut the door, clock out, and do life. It’s the desire for a better quality of life that prompts so many of us to take the plunge in to entrepreneurship, but work-life balance can still remain elusive.
It took a while to figure out a schedule that worked well around my family life and how I work best. If I don’t exercise in the morning, I just don’t get to it. Exercise is really important for how I feel mentally and physically. So, I had to make it a priority and let my work day start after that. I do my best work in the morning so anything I have to concentrate on, like writing these post or coding, I do first. I set three priority items and those are what I do in the morning. In my corporate job, I wrote out what I needed to do for the next day before I left and I still do this. It helps me to cut my work day off and focus on family. I always take a lunch break with my husband, even if it’s just 20 minutes. It’s a way to make time for each other and avoid snacking all day, which is so easy to do at home.
With my priority work done, if something comes up in the afternoon or a meeting runs long, I don’t feel so flustered and behind. The most impactful thing I have done to working smarter is scheduling everything in my Google calendar. I have my time blocked out for everyday things like going to the gym, emails, and priority work. Then, I also have monthly task like website maintenance, writing blog post, and publishing e-newsletters. Every Monday is accounting, marketing, and education. This way I keep up with invoices and taxes. I have a space and time for working on marketing my business and a time to expand my skill set. If you are having trouble with this, writing down or using an app, like Timely, will help you see how you are spending your day and how you can use your time better.
Enjoy the Perks!
Working from home can be isolating. You miss the water cooler talk and having a team to help you work through things. Now it’s you… doing everything and figuring it out as you go. I get out and meet a friend for coffee or go to a networking event every week. Community is good for your business and your well being. It also feels amazing and rewarding to enjoy the perks of making your own schedule. Go shopping during the middle of the day when stores are empty, have a long lunch with friends, and be the room Mom you never had time to be before. Being an entrepreneur is hard. Don’t forget to reward yourself by actually living the kind of life you took this chance for in the first place.