I was pretty lucky! I never had to look for a work from home job or business. A few weeks after we announced we were pregnant I designed a work from home proposal for my boss and he loved the idea. My 4 page proposal showcased how my move home would save the company at least $12,000 a year in operational expenses and make me available for rush requests from our customers.
It truly was a win / win, but then again everything looks good on paper!
Working from home takes serious focus and attention to detail, especially if you are managing more than one business. Distractions are relentless and come in all forms. From an active child to a list of house hold chores your attention may be pulled in many directions. But what I found the most distracting was that no one really understood I was “working” from home. I was constantly being asked “What do you do all day?” So instead of sharing my elevator speech for my business or talking about the joys or frustrations (depending on my mood that day) of working from home I told them I have became a master of creating a balanced schedule.
Here are 5 keys I use to create a successful work from home schedule:
- Blocking Non-Negotiable Time
- My husband is home during the day so it was important that I blocked off my productive time. I call this my Non Negotiable Time. Unless there is a real emergency, like the house is on fire, I don’t want to be interrupted. I use this time for sales calls, follow up sessions, and any activity where I am communicating one on one with my customers or business partners. I have 2 one hour sessions blocked each day.
- Communicate the schedule
- Use a Google calendar or similar AND link everyone’s pages. This can make a huge difference in any house hold and I highly recommend it. How many times has your spouse forgotten something you’ve said because they didn’t write it down? Make everyone accountable for updating their schedule and make yourself accountable to check the calendars before creating a conflict.
- The 3 hour lunch
- I’m a little guilty… ok, I’m actually a little famous for them… but these little pleasures are how I meet and greet. There is a great café here where I’ll settle in at 11 and stay until 2. Sometimes with the same person, but mostly I invite a group of people to “drop in” during my 3 hour lunch. Sometimes they overlap and that works great for them too, but for me I can schedule a lunch 2-4 times a month that gets me out of the house. I pay a sitter for a few hours and meet with everyone I need to within a structured time frame.
- Setting the tone of the day
- It truly is up to you to manage your schedule. I’m the first one up every day which sets the tone of what I will accomplish. That first hour is crucial to organizing the day, updating emails, tweaking the schedule, etc. Both my morning and afternoon rituals are important as they are my mental commute into and away from the office. The last thing I do before leaving my desk for the day is to completely clear it off, set my goals for tomorrow and shut down the computer. These activities help me transition into “being” home for the rest of the evening.
- Personal development
- I love to learn so I schedule a few hours a week for webinars and business training. All of this is done during my own time usually in the evening after my daughter is in bed and while my husband is checking his email. I know I will never run out of things I want to learn, but I don’t let it take up my “productive” time.
The goal is to create a schedule that works with your energy level and supports your family needs. Creating ours took a little trial and error and not every day looks the same, but having a base line to work from means accomplishing more and not falling into the work from home trap of working all hours of the day and night just because you can.
To Your Financial Health