Working from home can be such a blessing, but finding balance in this decision is NOT always easy! I have learned many lessons through the years on time management such as what jobs I can and can't do, how to work through different stages of my children's lives and more.
I also know the secret to making it successful, and that is, there is NO secret. You have to just live it out and tweak it and know that when it gets to be pretty good, you will have to probably tweak it again because your children will be at a different stage, or something in the family will have changed.
Here are some tips that have helped me along the way:
1. Set business hours.
They may be different in the summer or may have to change when a new baby comes or when they grow out of naps. Find something that works for you now and tweak it when you need to. It really helps. I work 2 hrs before my children get up, and 2 more around 3pm. I use one day a week where my husband comes home from work and lets me have a few hours to myself for working in the evening. Sometimes I work on Saturday morning or after my kids go to bed. Keep in mind my children are 8, 10 and 13 which makes it much easier then when they were little.
2. Create a working space.
This does NOT have to be an office. Work where you are comfortable, if that is in the living room chair, so be it. Keep in mind it may need to be in a quiet area of the house.
3. Adapt your schedule when a higher priority arises.
Life happens. You have to adapt or you will go crazy. If you wake up ready to do tons of work and your child has 102 temperature-your day just changed. You have to do the best you can on days like that! Sometimes you have to call in some help, or you may need to rearrange your day all together, just remember you will get through it. Try not to sweat it too much!
4. Keep things organized.
I'm not the most organized woman by any means but if I don't keep my space somewhat organized, I end up doubling my work time. I try to keep a clean area, sticky notes for reminders, and to do lists for my different tasks handy.
5. Protect your family time at all costs.
I will admit, I have not always done this! I'm a work in progress but constantly trying to do better. The hard thing about working at home is there is always work to be done. You just don't leave the office at 5 and know you will still see the work tomorrow. When you are home with it, you feel like you should be working on it. That is where business hours come in. If you don't do this you will find that you are working all of the time and your family will become resentful. Remember God, husband and children are your primary concern. Working at home will become a quick burden if you don't set priorities.
6. Enjoy it.
It is a blessing to be able to work from home. Many times you need the second income, and it is so nice to be home with your kids. You get to meet some great people and hopefully do something you really enjoy. Just remember, if there is no balance it will not work. So play around with your schedule, and your time to see what works for you at the stage you are in right now.
You can apply these tips for any adventure your doing at home. Selling on ebay, or Amazon, putting up Ads on your blog, freelance writing, and much more. Those things are work too and it helps to give them some guidelines so your time won't run away from you!
................ This post is part of the Finding Balance series.