Working from home is a challenge to say the least. There are so many things you can do to distract yourself.
Social Media, chores, Netflix, beautiful weather, errands and the list goes on and on.
You can overcome those distractions with a little self-discipline though, right?
Still, another challenge exists. How do you let everyone else in your life know that you do indeed WORK from home.
If you have small children this can be especially difficult. My husband and I have both worked from home for a number of years and we came up with a few simple tricks for our children.
- Work during nap time: this is a no-brainer. You’re already doing this.
- Create a procedure for when you’re on a phone call you don’t want to be interrupted. Closing the door may not be an option if you have younger kids, so you need a way for them to know not to talk. One would think that a phone on your ear would be a good enough clue, but as smart as they are kids never catch on to this. I created a stop sign and go sign out of construction paper and glued them together back to back. A circle is fine, you don’t have to get all octagon fancy. When you’re on the phone or need a few quiet minutes. Put the stop sign up. When you’re working but are open to interruptions, put the green sign up. Teach your child what they mean and practice a few times when you’re not actually on the phone. Make it a game of pretend, then when the real time comes they’ll know that when there is a stop sign they can give mom a quick wave and come back in a few minutes. ALWAYS check in with them when you get off the phone. That way they will be more likely to leave you alone if they know you really are going to get them some grapes and exactly 12 goldfish crackers.
- Build an ever-changing special box. Thank goodness for the dollar spot right here ladies. You’ll need one shoe box and all the best goodies from the dollar spot or dollar store. This box is NEVER to be opened unless you are on the phone or with a customer. We had special box rules. The toys from the special box never left. They never went away from the box and the box never left me, as in, if I wanted to keep it in my office, that’s where it stays. If I want to take it to my skin care party in the kitchen, you can play with the items nearby, but all items must go back in the box when you’re done. Always change the items. Put new things in, take out things that have been there a while. Your little ones will BEG you to get on the phone or meet with a client. The key to success is to practice this with your kids. You have to practice when you aren’t actually having a skin care class so they understand what to do when you are.
- One of the best pieces of advice while trying to work around the lives of small children is to be flexible and to work in small windows. Don’t try to do all of your office work, and follow up with all of your clients in 3 hours straight. Work in little 10-minute increments. You’re going to feel like you’re working all the time, but it’s better for your kids and you’re going to get better behaviour if you don’t expect them to be quiet for 3 straight hours. Manage your own expectations.
So kids are one thing, but what about adults? Are your neighbors popping over, are your friends asking you to lunch or to go for leisurely afternoon walks in the ONLY time you have that day to get to your follow-ups? Learn the art of saying “no.” We’ve discussed this in other posts, set a schedule for yourself. In that schedule build in time for those activities, but also build time for the work you need to accomplish. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself behind and stressed. When someone asks to use that time up, simply say you’d love to, but you really have to work during those hours. They will still love you, and they’ll see how important your business is to you if you set those boundaries. There is not a long list of ideas for this because it is about learning to say no. If you find this difficult you could spend some time thinking of ways to say no to common request you get so that you’re ready for what you want to say when the call comes in. Let your friends know you love them by finding another time that works.
I’m sure you’ve got some great tricks and tips that have worked for you and we’d love to hear them. Comment here or on our FB page.