Defining your priority is something that I realized I must do in order to maintain that fragile work/life balance that comes with working from home.
If you think that you are tipping the balance in favour of your personal life when you begin career at home, let me tell you straight out that it is not always so. When I was starting, I had a target compensation set before me that I ended up putting in more hours at work than I was taking care of my son. It was tiring and stressful and the problem was, I had no place to retreat because my office was my home!
That was when I realized how messed up my plans were. I wanted the work from home arrangement to succeed that I lost sight of my priorities. I forgot that the reason I was working from home was to be with my son and to take better care of my family.
Don’t get me wrong. The problem was not the working arrangement. The problem was my attitude towards everything. I was focusing too much on the career I was building for myself that I lost sight of why I chose this path to begin with.
So I had to step back and reassess my goals. Not only that, I had to create a system wherein I was able to cover all the bases of both my personal and business life.
What were my reasons to stay at home? My family comes first, especially my son. I want to witness how my son was growing up and not get distorted versions of it from the one taking care of him. I want to have dinner ready when my husband comes home – not have him cook dinner himself because it’s taking me too long to get off from work. These are things that I found very hard to do with a corporate job.
For my business priorities, my goals were to fill in an 8 hour work day so I can help my husband support our family financially. I also wanted my own blog site where I can help others get into the same position as I am today (if they wanted to).
The key to maintaining balance is to find a way to fit in these priorities in my schedule and try not to overlap them. For instance, I begin my work way before my son wakes up so that I can take care of him when he does. That means, my work hours begin at 6-9 in the morning and continues around 1pm when he takes his afternoon nap. When he wakes up, I stop working so I can play with him and also to prepare dinner before my husband gets home. If there are things that I wasn’t able to finish, I work 1-2 hours at night while my family watches television.
I stick to my schedule so that I can attend to my personal and business goals. That way, I get to take care of my family and at the same time, experience fulfilment as my work from home career moves forward.
Here is an excerpt from an article that a friend of mine wrote. She has been vital to my work from home success – giving me tips here and there. She is a lot younger than me but I found her to be quite knowledgeable in a lot of things pertaining to an online career. Her name is Cairyn.
I’d like to share with you 5 of the things that helps Cairyn achieve a work/life balance.
Tip 1: Scheduling around priorities. Family comes first.
Business success is something all of us are striving for, myself included, but achieving this goal is impossible without a balance at home and work. Working at home is easier once I ironed out the snags that typically get in the way of productivity. By creating a simple system, the balance of time between my family, social life and business is a no brainer.
Tip 2: Order “Business to Do’s” based on client needs.
Messages on the office phone, cluttered e-mail accounts and the ever present need to always organize and re-organize the office can get in the way of business basics. I have several software productivity applicationsthat takes care of these things for me. I structure what I do around this and I owe the late Steve Jobs a lot for creating the whole Apple line of products. These gadgets may worth the investment but they simply make everything done faster and more efficient. Remember, the success of your business depends on the satisfaction of your clients. So if you’ll need to spend on something for your personal growth, knowledge and technology to help you get the job done and make your clients satisfies, I recommend you to get started with it right away.
Tip 3: Set Business and life Boundaries
To balance business and life, I had to set office work boundaries. Sometimes it can be frustrating and challenging but it’s definitely a must do. I personally prefer to complete the bulk of my work in the evening when there’s not much happening in and out of the house. Working during the graveyard hours, allowed my mind to stay on my most important and time sensitive tasks.
Tip 4: Work Space Restrictions
Placing restrictions on the distractions that came into my personal workspace was very important. Interruptions from others in my household and virtual ones like cell phone text messages, answering e-mails and social messaging needed to be put off until after work. Having a balanced business and life is all about getting organized. Hiring a virtual worker from a trustworthy online platform like oDesk proved to be the best way for me to do just that.
Tip 5: Make time for family time
It’s important for me to schedule some quality time with my family. Once a week, I plan few activities or events to spend with them and put it into my calendar to make sure that work related things will not get scheduled on these days. This give me a sense of relief because I know that family time is going to take place and I will not be interrupted by work. When I take time out to indulge myself with family time, I feel great and my focus at work improves. If you’re an employer, wouldn’t it be nice to have employees who are very productive with their work? An article from USA Today states that people who have more time with their families tend to be happier. In addition, happiness plays a great role in a person’s productivity and self-motivation. If they’re very happy with their lives, are highly motivated with their work and very productive with it, it wouldn’t be weird for them to work extra hours if you need them to.