Work at Home? Good and Bad
The dream has become a reality. You are working at home! Yeah! The refrigerator is right there; all those little jobs are going to get down. Plus, a paycheck, no matter where you are during the day. Want to go on a trip? Just pack your bags, grab your laptop and materials, and you are off? Right? RIGHT?
Not entirely, the reality of the situation is that you must keep yourself disciplined so that the work gets done and income is generated, but this isn’t always easy. Not by a long shot. So, the key is keeping yourself disciplined. A skill that God gave each of us when we were conceived. Depending on your Bible that disciplined is synonymous with self-control. How do you do that? You work on this skill every day.
Working at home is not like working for someone else or working in an employers’ building. You are in your home; your work is laid out for you, and you are not sleeping late. However, your family is there, the dog, the laundry, the home phone, in my case your husband who is also self-employed. Then there are all those chores that need to be done. In addition, not one person is around to keep you from getting up and going anywhere including the store or coffee shop. If you are sitting down at your computer, no one is keeping you from turning on your iPad which doubles as a TV or surfing the internet. Again, DISCIPLINE, DISCIPLIne, DISCIPLine, DISCipline, Discipline, discipline, and more DISCIPLINE is the key.
There are many blogs, articles, and books that tell you how to overcome all the distractions and attain the discipline that you need to make working at home successful. I will say that I agree with their recommendation, they authors seem to know that they are talking about. The books are accommodating and are full of good advice. However, there are some things that you need to do to successfully work at home. I have listed five items.
Find a planner that you like that has the timeline (or close to it) that works for you. In my case, I use Michael Hyatt’s Full Focused Planner. Each day has two pages, one for the day’s to do’s list, priority items, and timeline. In the beginning of the planner, there is a place for the annual goals, an ideal week, monthly calendar, quarterly items, daily rituals, and daily routines. At the end of week there is a reflective week worksheet that will provide reflection and review of the week. I combine this planner with Fly Lady’s website which helps me set up my work life and personal life. You may have to go through a couple of different planners or make your own before you find one that is companionable to your life. However the point is the planner must work with your life and help you, if it doesn’t get rid of it or modify to suit your needs.
There is an old saying that “when men (and women) plan God laughs”. Make sure you bring him into your plan because I can tell you from personal experience that if you don’t, your week will fall apart.
2. Know You Don’t Work 8-5 All the Time
Just remember. There are times when you need privacy and quiet, but you know you won’t get at your home. This mean you will have to be creative with your time in order to finish your work.
This week is a good example. The week was completely planned out, mainly because I am looking for more work and need to find it NOW.
It is May, and it snowed.
Plus I had promised to provide material for a writing event. It’s hard for me to work when my husband is home because he can’t stand not working. He is self-employed and has a lawn, landscaping, and snow removal business, and once the snow is removed, he has nothing to do and is exhausted. Not to mention, my daughter is having issues with her work and on and on. I just decided I needed to schedule events early in the morning (and I do mean right after midnight.) until everyone could get back on their regular schedule. The people whom I met with didn’t mind because this time fit into their regular working hours, but when they found out it was between 2:00 to 3:00 am for me, they were a bit surprised. I usually will split the differences in the time zone.
3. Have a Bolt Hole!
A bolt hole is a place you can go to and work without interruption.
I have two places I can go to work, three if it is necessary. The library; if I know in advance, I can reserve a room with a white board for an hour or, so. If I don’t have advance notice, they have quiet study areas in which I can set up my stuff and get to work: the local coffee place, either Starbucks or another coffee shop. If necessary, the site where I exercise at has a vending area with tables and chair, it also a section with table and chairs. I will work there if necessary.
Most important to me, all three places have internet!
Remember, the internet will go down. The appliances need to be fixed. Everyone at home decides you need to help them. Since you work at home, your neighbors ask you to watch for deliveries. The dog needs to be walked and go outside. There is no quiet in your home period. Whatever it is, something has happened that requires YOUR attention, and you can’t shut out the rest of the household. Have a bolt hole!
4. Child and Elderly Care
My suggestion is that it is good to have more than one place that meets your requirements in order for you to complete your work. Most importantly, please plan so that you know that you have what you need when you leave. Deadlines don’t move, and work does need to get completed. Remember that the materials that are left at the house will not drive themselves to your current location. There will be days that you need to leave your home office and work. That is why you need to plan the day, so you already know what you need to bring with you.
If you have children who are home, they do need to be taken care of during the day. It is essential that you have a way to do this when you are at home and still complete your work. I know that there will be times that the children will sit on your lap as you work. Caring for your children or elderly is not something that will be convenient to do all the time. It makes concentrating on your work very hard. Have a plan in place.
If it is possible to hire someone; however, I have co-workers who work from 2:00 am, and it’s hard to find daycare. Perhaps you can rearrange your child’s schedule so that they now sleep or otherwise occupied during your work hours. If they go to school, after-school care may be an option, afternoon babysitter or nanny, someone to care for children. If you work for a company, they may require that you provide a plan that shows that your children will be cared for while you can work.
5. Enforce Boundaries
Remember you are working at home and the paycheck is important. At least I find them important! I work as an online ESL teacher, and I need my computer, stable internet, and headphones at the very least to do my job. Besides, I have props and other items I use, so it is not convenient for me to leave my office; however, I do have a large packed suitcase that contains everything I need. I have this because my husband and I like to travel, and we have a cabin we go to on the weekend. My husband down to the dog know that if my computer top is up and I have my headphones on, I am working and cannot be interrupted.
The Full Focused Planner has a section for daily rituals, and the Fly Lady website provides you with suggestions on how to set up your day. Both products encourage individuals to make sure that individuals develop a morning ritual, workday startup ritual, in addition to workday shutdown ritual and evening ritual on each of the pages for each day. The two products I mentions provide assistance in developing these rituals, which I find that very helpful.
The rituals and routines provide times when you can do your laundry, plan meals or other household tasks. These rituals help make sure that you get the work done that you need to get done.
When I am typing on the computer and writing, developing content, or working on projects, my family know that I am working. My daughter has a habit of coming up to me and start talking, although it also took an unyielding voice and steely eyes looking directly at her, I told her “are you dying, bleeding or need to go to the hospital, unless you are not, wait until I am done working or at least say excuse me.” I have had to do this more than once and she still does it. Also, since she works nights and is often alone, consequently she would call me during her shift. Her brother used to do the same thing. In today’s world of cell phones, mine doubles as alarm clock plus emergencies. I go to bed very early so I can get six-plus hours of sleep at night before my classes start. They would call me to talk. I love my children, but I had to tell them they needed to call when I was not sleeping because I need my sleep. Again, if it wasn’t an emergency, I need my rest. It took a while, and finally, I didn’t answer their calls, and they stopped calling, they texted, and I would answer their texts during my free time the next day.
Enforce your boundaries and keep work hours!
Most people who are working at home are doing the type of work that they love. Yes, you can set your hours and determine how much work you need to complete. I like working at home, there is a lot more flexibility, and when I follow my advice, a great deal of work is completed.
Set up your day so that you get the most done during your work time. Also remember, there is a reason that most businesses give their employees sick time, personal days, and vacation time. Just because you are working at home, this doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve the same privileges. The difference is that you have a bit more flexibility to determine when, where, and how to take this time.
Enjoy your life!!
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I receive no income from the products mentioned in this post.