Defining your priority is a must to maintain that fragile work/life balance that comes with working from home.
People assume that starting an online career at home tips the balance in favor of our personal life. Unfortunately, that’s not always what happens.
I’m speaking from experience. When I started working from home, I had a target compensation set in place. I was very strict about that because my husband and I have a family to support. But to meet the target compensation, I had to work a certain number of hours. Sometimes, I had to overlap working while taking care of my son.
While I was driven and passionate about everything, I have to admit that it was tiring and stressful. To make things worse, I didn’t have any place to retreat from the stressful “work environment.” My office was my home!
It was at this time that I realized how messed up my work/life balance was. I became so focused on my financial targets that I forgot about the real reason I started my online career at home.
It 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 toward everything.
WHEN OVERWHELMED, STEP BACK AND REASSESS
Here’s my advice if you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed by your online career…
Step back and reassess your goals. Define your priorities so you can put your energy in the right places.
In my case, I had to refocus and create a system so I can attend to my personal and business priorities.
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. I don’t want him to 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 workday. That way I can help my husband support our family financially. I also wanted my own blog site to help others get into the same position as I am today.
DEFINING YOUR PRIORITY TO MAINTAIN WORK/LIFE BALANCE
The key to maintaining balance is to find a way to fit these priorities into my schedule and not overlap them. For instance, I begin my work way before my son wakes up. I get some work done so I can take care of him when he’s up. That means, my work hours begin at 6-9 in the morning. Then I continue around 1 pm when he takes his afternoon nap. When he wakes up, I stop working so I can play with him. I also 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 fulfillment as my work-from-home career moves forward.
Photo Courtesy of Stuart Miles
Here’s another perspective when it comes to defining priorities. Allow me to quote something that my sister-in-law shared with me. Her name is Cairyn and 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 when it comes to building an online career.
I’d like to share with you 5 of the things that help 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 applications that take 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 be 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 (now Upwork) 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 a few activities or events to spend with them and put them into my calendar to make sure that work-related things will not get scheduled on these days. This gives 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 are very productive with it, it wouldn’t be weird for them to work extra hours if you need them to.
Wise words from a beautiful woman!