You have landed the job. You love the freedom associated with working from home. What you did not anticipate, however, was how distracting and difficult it can be at times to focus on work and leave the laundry alone. If you have young children and a spouse or partner that works full time, they may have a hard time understanding your need to stay focused on work, instead of cooking dinner. If you set boundaries and share your thoughts and concerns with your family, you can achieve the perfect work/family balance as a home-based professional. Here are some tips for how to create the perfect balance between your work and family life.
- Create and adhere to a strict schedule based on your work and lifestyle needs. If you have been trying to work during the day with young children and pets running around, it can be difficult to focus, let alone work on major job projects. The key to maximising your time and balancing work with family may be to change your schedule. At night, very young children sleep; this may be the perfect time to begin your work day. If you have school-aged children, for example, you may want to consider working during the day while your children are at school. If you share custody with an ex, you can always cram as much work as possible into the time when your children are away or at extracurricular activities.
If you live in an apartment complex, it may be difficult to work on the phones during the evening hours when most neighbors are home and making noise. Working during the day may be the most conducive to your business.
- Once you have established a set schedule, it is critical to share this with your family. Often, family members can be so wrapped up in what they have going on, that they fail to understand that you have obligations, too. Gather the support of a spouse or your children and inform them of your new schedule. Although it may be difficult, your family needs to know that just because you work from home does not mean you are always accessible. It can be difficult to establish boundaries with those you love the most.
- Just as you would set a schedule for your work week, it is important to schedule regular breaks for yourself. These breaks can be any duration pertinent to your needs, such as a lunch or dinner break, restroom break, and stretch break. Taking regular breaks allows you to stretch and re-approach your work with a fresh mind and ensures that you will be ready for your family when they need you most.
- Race the clock. One of the most effective strategies for mind-wanderers is to set an alarm clock or use a kitchen timer to track your progress. Set a specific and realistic goal during a specific period of time, start your clock, and let the race begin. Not only does this process hold you accountable, but it is also fun and makes the time go by much faster than if you did not push yourself. You will usually almost always reach your personal goal and increase your profits, as well, and will love sharing the news of your work day with your family.
- Think fun, not bills. Although most people that work from home do so to provide for their families and pay bills, it does not help to have finances on your mind all day while you work. A simple strategy for increasing mood and production is to start your day by envisioning a vacation spot or item you are interested in purchasing. As your work day progresses, think of the item or family vacation as your monetary goal. In other words, you are not working today to pay the mortgage; you are earning money towards a fun family vacation or fancy new purse. When you shift your thinking in a subtle way, your productivity, mood, and earnings increase.
As with any job, whether at home or in an office, there is a time for work and a time for play. If your family can give you space during your work day, you will be much more capable and able to be with them and support them when you are not actively working. If you have to keep interrupting your day to answer personal phone calls, cook, clean, and run errands, you run the risk of missing deadlines, being stressed out, and not making as much money as you would like or need.
When you establish boundaries with your family and hold yourself accountable, you are effortlessly able to balance work and home life. Your family will have a deeper appreciation for the time you do spend together.