Working from home sounds like a great idea in this economy.
The truth though, is that not everyone is cut out for it. Working from home requires a delicate balance between family, work, personal time, and other priorities.
The best thing about working from home is that you never have to go to work, the bad thing is that you never get to leave.
It’s a blessing and a curse and it’s easy to fall of either side of the cliff — working too little or working too much.
I’ve had the blessing of working from home for the past 13 years. In that time period, home could be defined as my a dorm room, a friends house, my mother’s garage, an apartment, our first house, and the place we call home now. Each location and season of life presented it’s own series of challenges.
Through the years, I’ve made plenty of mistakes and managed to work too much and too little. It’s still a daily balance at times.
Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way that can help make it a little easier:
- Define Work Times: Working from home often allows for unusual schedules, which is great, but that can often lead to too much or too little work. If you can define a period of time each day for work, it will help normalize your schedule and improve productivity. Hold yourself to those times.
- Define a Work Space: This one is harder for some depending on the space you have available at home, but if you can carve out a space that’s specifically designed for work only, it will help you focus when you’re in that space. Kind of like watching TV in bed can lead to poor sleep and sex, trying to work in a play space can be equally unproductive.
- Work when You’re Working: Sounds simple, but it’s not always. Facebook, twitter, blogging, news, and much more can quickly sweep us away for hours of the day without notice. Before you know it, you’ve wasted a ton of valuable time.
- Play when you’re Playing: Ok, ok, I’m starting to sound a little repetitive, but seriously… almost all of the very successful business owners I know are great at productive work, but they are also great at playing hard. When you’re with family, or friends, and outside of the defined hours in #1 above, put down the phone, shutdown the laptop, and HAVE FUN!
- Communicate with your Spouse: (This probably should be #1) If you’re married, working from home can bring an all new kind of stressors (or be a huge blessing). Making sure your spouse knows when you’re working, when you’re playing, and when you’re available to help with other things is extremely important. Communicate these things BEFORE they become a problem.