Working from home – does it make you a master of your own time?

Friends say it all the time: “You’re so lucky to work from home and be a master of your own time”. Come again? It is a blessing to work from home but does it mean I am master of time?
Yes when it all goes well I am…. but at times you can more like a Slave at the mercy of a clock that never has enough hours in the day to meet the competing needs of life –parent, worker, boss, partner, and friend.

So how do we find the time to accomplish it all when you live at your office?

 The list

It’s simple, it’s clear and it frees your mind from clutter. A list is the go-to fallback for anyone working from home. Importantly lists should be drawn up the night before, factoring in all the realistic things you need to accomplish the following day, including work and home items.  

Go hard early

The hardest tasks should be at the top of that list to be accomplished early in the morning in the quiet before the house awakens or directly after the school run. There’s a few benefits to this:

  1. It gets them out of the way, and satisfyingly ticked off
  2. You come at it fresh
  3. You’re not worrying about it when you hit the wall at 3 or 4 in the afternoon.
  4. You’re not dealing with complicated matters at the end of the day when you’d otherwise be spending time with family or, heaven forbid…sleeping!

Factor in home duties

Dedicate 1 to 2 hours a day for family, friends and general home duties like popping on a load of washing, lunch with the family, and a general tidy of the house. And tick these items off your list.

Pen’s down

Set yourself a finish time like you would at a normal job, whether that’s 3.30pm when the kids get home from school or 5pm. Then spend quality time with your family and don’t look at your computer or take work calls. You can return to the office once the kids are in bed and fire off a few emails while the hubby’s watching the footy.

Late night essentials

If you need to pull a late night, look at the list you’ve made and decide what can be accomplished quickly now or what requires a fully functioning brain and has to wait till the morning. If you commit to tasks at night don’t mess around. Get in, get the job done and avoid the allure of Facebook, news.com.au or a quick check of the BOM.

Be realistic with friends

Yep, it’s great to work from home as you set your own hours, but that doesn’t mean you’re always available to drop everything for a quick cuppa or babysit your friend’s children on demand. You work… from home. And you need to be clear about that, indicating, as you would with a normal job, when you’re free to socialise and when you have to work.

Own your schedule

Once you’ve set tasks and allocated time, stick to it. Allow yourself to be in the moment, whether that’s working, doing homework with the kids, or catching up with friends. The work will still be there after the hour or two you’ve allowed and if something work-related springs to mind, write it down and come back to it later.
Working from home is a constant juggling act that some days we perform better than others. It’s also a learning curve that, with time, effort and planning will be mastered.
If you are looking for a little help planning your time check out the FREE Time Accountability Planner Clive and I launched on Business Business Business today! (It will only be FREE for a limited time)
 
 

16 Comments

  1. Simone

    Such a succint list of ways to protect the boundaries of your time in the middle of the juggle. I popped over to get the planner too. 🙂

    Reply
  2. Tory

    I really feel I’m more productive at home – so many less distractions!

    Reply
    • Linda Reed-Enever

      Tory that is great I must admit when I did work in an office I went in at 7 to get my work done before my team came in 🙂

      Reply
  3. Ebony-Rose

    I’ve always wondered how on earth those who work from home manage it all, obviously a lot of dedication and organisation! Great post x
    Ebony-Rose || http://www.mrsandmummy.com

    Reply
  4. Steph

    These are great tips!
    At times I found working from home harder as you literally can’t escape the office! It definitely is a blessing if you have little kids especially.
    Loved this read!

    Reply
    • Linda Reed-Enever

      Steph it is I don’t think I would go back to an office 🙂 But that does not mean I won’t get hubby to build me one out back. Glad you liked the tips!

      Reply
  5. Flore

    I work from home (as well as office part time) and I found your tips very users ?

    Reply
  6. Katie

    I’ve done a lot of working from home and I find it really difficult. When you work from home you are always the one to have to drop everything for sick kids, to have to ‘just pop out to do X’, to get called on by friends or family members for things. I find if you don’t guard your work time and be strict about it, no one else will.

    Reply
    • Linda Reed-Enever

      It is so true Katie Family and Freinds are the hardest for me. Miss C has grown up around business so will sleep on the couch in my office if sick. I learnt that popping out to do x had to stop after losing a whole day once to x that would just take 5 mins. If it can be done on weekends now that is when it happens or at least after school 🙂

      Reply
  7. Rebecca bowyer

    I think I would just end up work many more hours if I worked from home for myself! I know I do it enough with my blogging. I do work from home – but set hours and for someone else.

    Reply
    • Linda Reed-Enever

      I did at first too 🙂 That is why I had to get tough on myself around what I could and couldn’t do. Having a door to a space I can close has helped me so much 🙂

      Reply
  8. Lauren

    One thing that works very well for me sometimes is a change of scenery. Some days I feel being at home isn’t going to work for me, so I pack my laptop and head off to the library instead. When needed, a change of environment can really hone my focus.

    Reply
    • Linda Reed-Enever

      Me too Lauren especially if I need to write cafe and coffee works well for me 🙂

      Reply

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