How will you squeeze work-from-home time into your day already packed full of stuff? One of the first things is to identify as best you can, how much time you can give over to your ‘home business’, then create a work plan, or schedule.
First, set some ground rules with yourself, family and friends. Regardless of whatever you home business is, start adopting the attitude you have a ‘business at home’ and as such you (and those around you) need to respect this. If you have children at home, you are now a ‘working father’ or ‘working mother’, even if your office is “home”.
One of the first things to set up is your answering-machine. Use your answering machine consistently to screen calls and prevent interruptions. Learn how to say: “Sorry, I have to work!”… because you do.
Next, set ‘office hours’ – times when you solely focus on your work. You could decide on regular days and times or, if your life is more unpredictable, identify the times when you will be able to do some work, even if these are different every day.
Structure and being consistent with your ‘work times’ is key and (this bit is vital) when work time comes around, turn your back on other demands. Don’t start washing the car, going to the shops, cleaning the house, etc – go to your work space and go to work! You may find it helpful to set exact times so that you carry on working for an allotted time span.
Draw out a week’s agenda or calendar as a Work Schedule and be sure to factor in… – times of day you’re naturally most productive – times when there are least amount of distractions – other priorities, like time with partner and kids, – consider other draws on time like making time for health and fitness, and of course social time with your partner and family.
Identify right up front what might knock you off your work schedule and be prepared for those factors; possibly build in some spare time to allow for eventualities that you hadn’t planned for, which always crop up in life. Think about what factors could prevent you from achieving the work schedule that week, and try and to build in a ‘plan B’ if they do crop up. Also be realistic with yourself. If you only have three hours a week to work on your business, then that’s what you schedule. Just make the most of that time, and ensure you use every minute in a productive way.
You may be reading this saying “but I can’t find any free time?” If that’s the case, answer this question honestly to yourself “Which is more important to me – earning an income from home, or all the “other stuff?” Never forget we all have just 24 hours in a day – it’s how we each choose to use that time that makes the difference. You need to decide that ‘working from home’ IS important. I suspect you’re filling all your day right now as it is, so If you want work time you’ll have to spend less time doing some things, or completely eliminate some activities from your schedule. You won’t be the first facing this dilemma – what you need to ask yourself is … “what am I prepared to give up to give my business time and move it along the road to success?” …and yes you will have to and cut down on…
…TV-time – aren’t there shows you could live without? …E-mail and Internet surfing – if they are not related to your business. …Kids’ activities – review and consider dropping all but the essential ones (probably some the kids don’t enjoy anyway!) …Shopping – do it one swoop, or order online and have it delivered. …Cleaning – delegate chores, hire help, create a system
Here are some other terrific ways to free up more time, and just an extra 15 minutes a day can make a big difference: – Practice saying “no” more often – it’s hard I know, but it will be an invaluable lesson to getting better control of your time. – If your home role involves doing much of the cooking, then plan menus, prepare food ahead of time and max out your freezer. – Create a regular “Daddy/Mummy Night”, when the kids get quality time with their Dad or Mum, while you get to work uninterrupted. – Use a daily/weekly/monthly planner that works for you and your personality (paper, electronic, scraps of paper… just make sure it helps you stay organised). – Schedule regular “work retreats” …go to a relative’s home, or hotel, and work for one or more days without interruption.
For all of us that ‘work from home’, finding time to work – and sticking to it – is about the most challenging aspect of working from home. It will be an ongoing struggle but the better structured and organised you are, the more likely you are to achieve your weekly work schedule. In the end, it will be clearly worth with everyone in the family benefiting as you enjoy the fruits of your success. Just roll up your sleeves, stay focused and just do it!
Author: Steve MitchellThis author has published 14 articles so far.