Monthly Archives: May 2014

Does working from home invoke a vision of free time to everyone?

I don’t know about you, but when I tell people I own my own business and work from home, they get this look on their face, and say something like, “You can do anything you want during the day, can’t you?”  My response is always, “I work just as hard for myself as if I were being paid my someone else.” My expectations for my business to succeed are higher than those I had working for someone else, and they were pretty high – you can verify this by asking someone else I worked for. Yes, working from home does mean certain freedoms, but you do “work.”

2014 is almost half over and I’ve accomplished a goal I set in 2013 to network more.  I’ve joined a couple of business associations and a community advocacy organization. However, this means having to balance more activities, committees and events into my already busy life of running a business as a solopreneur. You volunteer your time (and other resources) because you believe in the organization/group you’ve joined. When people know you work from home (including me sometimes when I forget what it’s like), they think you can drop everything you’re doing at the drop of a dime and respond to their request – whether by phone, email or text message. You volunteer to do one or two things that you know you can fit into your schedule and then you will get asked to do several more “little” things.

Wow! Things got out of control for me already this year, and I got sick, I became unaware of some personal tasks, and I got frustrated with myself.  So what am I doing to get back on track?

As a reminder to myself and perhaps to help you, these few little suggestions will help us balance our lives when working from home (especially if you join groups or organizations):

1) Communicate effectively!  Yes and No are very small words that mean a lot, therefore, when you say either, stay committed to your response.  When you say ‘Yes’ do what you say you will do. If you hear extra things added after you’ve responded to do one thing, communicate clearly what you can and cannot do.  Saying ‘No’ doesn’t mean that you don’t want to do something, it means, you know that you can’t do everything. I like to do things well and if I’m overwhelmed, they don’t get done well, leaving everyone upset.

2) Stick to your schedule!  Add additional tasks you’ve committed to your calendar and prioritize. Your business is Priority 1!  If you’ve committed to do something outside your own work, you may have to work on the other tasks after your business day. Put everything – business, pleasure, volunteer activities, etc. – on one calendar so that you can see everything you have planned in your life in a day, week, month!  There will be times when you can be flexible and sometimes you can’t.  You will probably make adjustments if you’re putting more time into other activities than what’s most important to you. If you concentrate your time and effort on highest priority projects that means you get more done.

3) Respond to electronic communication on a schedule. Answer the phone calls, email and text messages when it’s convenient for you.  I schedule time during the day to read and respond to my email.  I determine whether a text message is important or urgent and respond accordingly.

4) Take care of yourself! Get your rest!  Your body lets you know when you’re tired and it will get sick if you get stressed!  Getting enough rest should be the highest priority in your life.

If you work at home and are involved in your community, tell me your time management tips.