Image by: CollegeDegrees360
By Olivia Carter
Why is it that when you work at home, somehow people don’t seem to think you’re working at all?
But you know you’re hard at work behind that computer, you know that you have deadlines that you have to meet or you won’t be able to pay the electric bill, and you know that you’re not just playing Words with Friends (well, maybe just a little).
Here are five rules to follow when you work at home—to make sure you can actually get stuff done while keeping your sanity.
#1) Have Your Own Space
This may mean carving out a corner in the den, or (better yet) using a spare bedroom (because it has a door you can close!). It is important to have your own space for many reasons. For one thing, it means you don’t have to lug all of your work materials all around the house when you have to leave the living room because your kids want to watch Spongebob. For another, it means you can set up an important rule: when the door is shut, that means you are not to be bothered.
#2) Act Like You Are Your Boss
Sure, one of the good things about working at home is that you can go for a haircut in the middle of the morning on a Wednesday.
But let’s not get carried away, here.
If you are serious about working at home (and getting work done!) you have to get in the habit of being your own “boss.” This means staying at that desk until that project is done and that deadline is met—just like if you were in a “real” office, with a “real” boss looking over your shoulder.
#3) Turn Off the Electronic Distractions
Facebook and personal emails are more distracting than you probably realize. Turn off Facebook, and schedule times during the day to check email from friends. Some people find that a good balance is to work steadily for 25 minutes or so, and then take a 5 minute break.
#4) Don’t Let Housework Distract You, Either
It can be hard enough for women who work outside the home to stop thinking about all that needs to be done around the house.
When you have a pile of clean laundry sitting just feet from you, it is very easy to let that distract you (after all, you could have that laundry folded within a matter of minutes…and putting those clean dishes away wouldn’t take too long, either. And that kitchen is awfully messy….).
When you work at home, you have to divide your day into “work time” and “chore time,” and stick to it.
#5) At Least One Day a Week, Don’t Turn on That Computer at All
Nope, not even to check email. You need a day to recharge—you’ll work better the rest of the week if you do. Plus, your husband and kids would probably like to see you—not to mention that it might be a good idea to get out of the house. Just because your office is only steps away from the dinner table doesn’t mean you should be working 24/7.
Working at home isn’t for everyone, but for many women, owning their own business and working at home is a dream come true. It offers freedom and flexibility.
However, it also offers a myriad of possible distractions, temptations, and frustration. It takes some effort, but with some self control and self discipline you can make it work. If you can find the right balance of working hard and enjoying your home office, you may soon decide that working at home is the only way to go.