For me, working from home was a dream come true.
I could do what I love, set my own hours, have my own space, be my own boss. Oh, happy days!
Except that I didn’t factor in dealing with challenges like:
- Overwhelming exhaustion from juggling too many balls in the air.
- Deep guilt over not being able to spend time with my family or do basic household chores.
- Having no defined working hours.
- Working all the time.
You get the picture, right?
Working from home comes with a unique set of time management challenges and if you don’t work them out, you won’t be happy, productive or profitable.
So, when these challenges became too much for me, I knew I had to take action. And you can, too.
Three work-at-home time management challenges SOLVED:
Challenge #1: Not Having Time for Home or Family
One of my biggest issues was the guilt I felt about not being able to plan meals or spend time with my daughter, who was then a baby. I needed to deal with this first before anything else. I knew I needed the time to work but I also needed to spend time with my husband, daughter and on my home.
- Identify an average number of hours you’ll need every day for work.
- Communicate with your husband/partner about that and work out a schedule that works. My husband and I decided that I would be able to work when my baby daughter was sleeping or with him. Since he knew how much work I was doing and how much time I needed for it, he was prepared and not upset when I would seemingly be on the laptop all the time.
- Set up systems, like menu planning for the week, bulk cooking and most importantly, hiring help for cleaning the home. The last bit was (and still is) an investment, but totally worth it.
Challenge #2: Not Having Enough Time for Yourself
When you’re working from home, it can get really intense. You have a home, a family to take care of, a business to build, projects to complete and sometimes, you may even have a day job to boot.
This intensity often translates into no “me time”. You push things like reading a good book or a trip to the salon to the backburner because other things are more important or urgent. That’s what I did too, until I burnt out and cried tears of exasperation.
- Pick out 2-3 activities that recharge you. I picked reading, meeting friends and a salon trip.
- Mark out 1 hour every week for an activity. Communicate again. Remember – family members aren’t mind readers, so you really have to keep communicating.
- Stick to it. I would waffle at the last minute thinking of something that needed to be done. Luckily, I have a husband who pushed me out of the house, telling me I needed to get out. Find an accountability partner if you need that and make sure you make time for YOU.
Challenge #3: Working ALL the Time
This one is SO common and such an easy trap to fall into. You’re working at home, so you can be making lunch and checking your email or playing with the kids and drafting a blog post. Before you know it, you don’t have a switch off mode and you’re constantly working AND sometimes, still not getting things done for your business. Ask me how I know this?
- Set working hours. Really. They don’t have to be engraved in stone but do have a general guideline of when you’re supposed to be working.
- BUT use pockets of time. You can have working hours and still be able to use those pockets of time that generally go wasted. Think “task layering”, like networking while waiting in the pickup line at school or reading while waiting for your daughter to finish her tennis or jazz lesson.
- Have a shut-off time. This will also help you deal with the guilt you feel of not spending time with your family. When you’re eating dinner, don’t go checking your email.
- Outsource your overwhelm. I talked about this earlier and it is SUCH a blessing to have someone else deal with my pain areas, happily.
- Know what you need to work on. Whether you use an online planner or a paper and pen, having a list of things that you need to tackle on a daily and weekly basis will let you get to work right away.
What work at home challenges do you find most difficult?
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