If you’ve ever worked from home, you know that there can be many distractions and challenges. The kids could be there. There’s a TV show you want to watch from last night. Laundry is calling. That painting project you’ve been putting off could get done right now. All of these things can pull you away from work. The thing is, there’s no way I’d rather be doing it than from home, and I’ve always been determined to make it work.
Set a schedule
That’s why I make a schedule and stick to it. Time management is the most important aspect of working at a home-based job. You must be willing to ignore all of the distractions (okay, maybe not the kids) and focus your mind toward your work, at least for a designated period of time. I recommend creating a set schedule and for the most part, not deviating from it.
What I do after I’ve taken the kids to school (and after my coffee, of course, and hopefully a shower) is go immediately to my desk and check my email. That allows me to wake up a little and start gearing my mind toward the work day.
After clearing my emails sufficiently, I set aside two straight hours toward working which usually starts around 9:00 and I don’t let myself do other tasks through that time. At the end of the two hours, I take a break for 15 minutes and then do another 30 minutes. This gets me to around noon when I can eat lunch or go run a couple of errands. When I get back around 1:30, I commit to one more hour (if I have to pick up the kids from school) and three more hours if I don’t.
You could even refine your schedule to be more specific like working on spreadsheets at 9:00, making calls at 10:00, paying bills at 11:00, etc. Some of you won’t have the kid distraction, so you can obviously create a different schedule. Your schedule doesn’t have to be completely rigid. It should, however, be a strong guideline to help you avoid being pulled away for other things.
Don’t try to fit in too much
Another aspect of time management that I try to follow is being realistic about what I can fit into my time. Many people overestimate what they can get done and then fall short, or are late for other things because they are now working beyond their designated time. I have become pretty good at this one, having worked at home for 20 plus years. Try to gauge how much time each task will take you and add up the time. This will help you greatly in knowing how much time you need.
Stay away from social media
I am very guilty of being tempted by Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. and I am very easily distracted by it. If you are like me and you know you’re going to be on it, then I would suggest adding it to your schedule. Allowing yourself maybe 30 minutes of it during the work day might give you your fix, because it can be a total time-waster if you can’t be disciplined with it.
Allow yourself a “free day”
The main reason we want to work at home is for the freedom, right? If you are able to, depending on the amount of work you have, let yourself have a free day each week, every two weeks, once a month, or whatever you can swing. That way you will know that you have time to get other things done, but your work day won’t be an endless distraction.
I LOVE working at home
Having a home-based business is the best career decision I ever made. It has allowed me to have the freedom to be there for my kids, not have a boss, and to have the self-esteem and confidence of knowing that I can do this on my own.
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