Words to the wise…
Stepping away from the 9 to 5 grind can be exhilarating.
- You have no boss looking over your shoulder, telling you what to do and when to do it.
- You have no one to criticize your work.
- You set your own hours.
- You can eat your lunch or take a break when you feel like it.
- You can be there for your children when they have a big game or a recital – or a birthday party.
- You can work in your pajamas if you so desire.
But be careful – the truth is, once you’re on your own, you must become that boss.
And, you must guard against being distracted from your work by:
- Your family
- Your friends
Family: When you move home to work, your first task must be to get your family members on board. Let them know that just because you’re there doesn’t mean you can stop to chat. You can’t stop work to run to the store or take the dog for a long walk. Work time is work time – just as if you were away at the office.
Yes, you can make it to those important events in your family member’s lives, but only because you’ve written them into your work schedule.
Friends: Your friends need similar instruction. Many will have a mistaken idea that since you’re home, you’re “Not doing anything” so are free to spend an hour on the phone, go out to lunch, etc. People who wouldn’t dream of calling or stopping by to visit when you were at a desk in an office will feel free to do so when you work at home.
One of my colleagues shared the fact that she lost “friends” at two junctures in life. The first was when she began home schooling her children at home. The second was when she became a freelancer. In both cases, these supposed friends were insulted when she refused to chat on the phone during her working hours.
Yourself: Yes – you can become your own worst enemy. Home is filled with distractions that you think will “only take a minute” but will eat up your day. Stopping to do a load of laundry can turn into an hour’s task – and break the flow of your work. Turning on the TV while you have lunch can lure you into sitting there – “just until this show is over.”
Do also be careful not to work too long. If you get caught up in a project, it’s easy to put in 12 or 14 hours a day – while you let everything else slide. It may happen to you, and it may be productive, but don’t let it happen often.
Set your working hours and stick to them.
You have the freedom to choose your hours and work when you’re feeling most productive. You may even choose to break up the day – working while the kids are away at school and going back for an hour or two after they’re tucked in for the night.
It’s your choice – but make it a conscious choice and stick to your schedule.
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