We all do it – sit down to help with homework, then the phone rings. We grab it, thinking it’ll be a 2 second call. 45 minutes later, the kids are frustrated, dinner’s not ready, the crisis you tried to avert by answering the phone has erupted into catastrophe, and you feel lousy.
Or, it’s date night. You’re all ready to go, the kids are taken care of, and you decide to check email one more time. The next thing you know, it’s been 20 minutes, the kids have found you, your spouse is antsy, and you’re frustrated by the email you wanted to check “real quickly.” Your night out is tainted by frustration and disappointment.
I could go on and on, pointing out how those of us who work from home just can’t seem to turn it off.
Let me ask you a question:
If you wanted to take out a home equity loan through your credit union, would you expect them to come in at 3am to process the paperwork, simply because it works for you? Absolutely not! Running a home-based business is no different.
- Set office hours, and stick to them.This simple strategy is the most effective way to begin to balance real life and work. When your work day ends, shut the door. That doesn’t mean take 2 phone calls or answer 3 more emails or text your assistant all night long; it means quit working and re-engage in real life.
- Work when you’re supposed to. Spend work time actually, you know, working! Don’t do laundry, or start to clean your bedroom, or pay personal bills while you’re “at the office.” After all, would a 9-to-5 boss let you do those things on the clock?
- Set aside time for yourself, each and every day, doing at least one thing that energizes you. Some days, it might be an hour workout or run. Other days, it might be 5 minutes to pray or meditate. Maybe it’s lunch with a friend, or a massage. Allowing yourself to breathe makes you a better you.
- Be selfish with your time. It’s okay to let the phone ring when you’re working or with your family. Just because the world wants to connect 24/7 doesn’t mean we have to participate! It’s okay to put your family and work priorities above an acquaintance’s.
- Set and maintain boundaries.This is key. Saying “no” is okay. Declining to work with a potentially difficult person is okay. Choosing to do business with people who embrace your ethics is okay. Boundaries enable us to take control in all areas of life.
Start with just one of these tips. Add the others in as you deem possible.
Take life one hour at a time, one day at a time.
Remember why you’ve chosen to work from home, and honor that reason.
Wishing you joy in the journey…