Do you work from home? If you do, then you know it’s not without its challenges. I’ve worked from home for 10+ years. If you know me well at all, you know that I do this with a 3 year old and 1 year old at home with me all day. Without a doubt, one of the questions I’m asked most often is ‘how do you do it?’ So today I’ve explained how to make it work for you…
My home office has NO door. You can come and go as you please. Because of this, my family knows my schedule each week. They know which times it’s okay to come talk to me and which times I’m not to be distracted. The critical component here is to have your family support you. If your spouse thinks that just because you’re home during the day you can take out the trash and vacuum all day then you’re going to have problems. Your spouse has to be on board.
Set a schedule and stick to it. Start on time and finish on time. Not only that, but you have to let your family know your schedule. Your schedule is also very important because without it you’ll find yourself working every now and then without accomplishing anything. It’s true that when working from home you don’t have to do a 9-5 shift. But you DO have to work!
Because I do a large amount of consulting and coaching, I spend a lot of time on the phone. I let all of my clients know that I run a lifestyle business and work from home. I prepare them to expect to hear kids in the background. The noise my kids make is never an issue. And trust me, it’s not because my kids are quiet! (This is also where spousal support becomes important. When I’m on a call, webinar, or whatever…my wife makes sure the kids don’t kill each other or come into my office screaming. She probably deserves a raise but don’t tell her I said that.)
You have to know which tasks are your top priorities and get those done at all costs. My to-do list is never-ending. There’s always something to do. BUT if I’ve finished my 3-5 top priority tasks for the day and my kids want to come in and play with me then I welcome that distraction. After all, THAT is why I’m working from home…to be with them as much as possible! The better you manage your priorities, the more successful you’ll be working from home.
You must have a dedicated space in your house to work. The dining room table isn’t going to cut it unless you turn the entire room into your office. You need a space that inspires you and where you can set yourself up for success. Do not underestimate the importance of your work environment. It plays a huge role in your productivity.
I’m not sure that working from home is right for everyone. As I’ve mentioned, it comes with a lot of responsibility and challenges. But for me, I was able to watch both of my kids take their first steps. I was able to hear them speak their first words. I get to spend a lot of time with them and my wife every single day. These are the benefits that make the challenges worth it.
The key is commit yourself to making it work. Then create an environment and routine that works for your business and family. And most of all, enjoy it and never take it for granted. It sure beats the heck out of sitting in a cubicle smaller than a prison cell.
Photo by me…of my daughter Ava