Friends say it all the time: “You’re so lucky to work from home and be a master of your own time”. Come again?
It is a blessing to work from home but does it mean I am master of time?
Yes when it all goes well I am…. but at times you can more like a Slave at the mercy of a clock that never has enough hours in the day to meet the competing needs of life –parent, worker, boss, partner, and friend.
So how do we find the time to accomplish it all when you live at your office?
It’s simple, it’s clear and it frees your mind from clutter.
A list is a go-to fallback for anyone working from home. Importantly lists should be drawn up the night before, factoring in all the realistic things you need to accomplish the following day, including work and home items.
Go hard early
The hardest tasks should be at the top of that list to be accomplished early in the morning in the quiet before the house awakens or directly after the school run. There are a few benefits to this:
- It gets them out of the way, and satisfyingly ticked off
- You come at it fresh
- You’re not worrying about it when you hit the wall at 3 or 4 in the afternoon.
- You’re not dealing with complicated matters at the end of the day when you’d otherwise be spending time with family or, heaven forbid…sleeping!
Factor in home duties
Dedicate 1 to 2 hours a day for family, friends, and general home duties like popping on a load of washing, lunch with the family, and a general tidying of the house. And tick these items off your list.
Set yourself a finish time, like you would at a normal job, whether that’s 3.30pm when the kids get home from school or 5pm. Then spend quality time with your family and don’t look at your computer or take work calls. You can return to the office once the kids are in bed and fire off a few emails while the hubby’s watching the footy.
Late night essentials
If you need to pull a late night, look at the list you’ve made and decide what can be accomplished quickly now or what requires a fully functioning brain and has to wait till the morning. If you commit to tasks at night don’t mess around.
Get in, get the job done and avoid the allure of Facebook, news.com.au, or a quick check of the BOM.
Be realistic with friends
Yep, it’s great to work from home as you set your own hours, but that doesn’t mean you’re always available to drop everything for a quick cuppa or babysit your friend’s children on demand.
You work… from home. And you need to be clear about that, indicating, as you would with a normal job, when you’re free to socialise and when you have to work.
Own your schedule
Once you’ve set tasks and allocated time, stick to it.
Allow yourself to be in the moment, whether that’s working, doing homework with the kids, or catching up with friends. The work will still be there after the hour or two you’ve allowed and if something work-related springs to mind, write it down and come back to it later.
Working from home is a constant juggling act that some days we perform better than others. It’s also a learning curve that, with time, effort and planning will be mastered.
If you are looking for a little help planning your time check out my Time Blocking Sheets and other planning resources.
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