If my friends and family were to tell you anything about it, it would likely be that I am maybe just slightly obsessed with the idea of time management. I started working from home for a variety of reasons. At first, I fell into the idea of “working whenever.” That quickly proved to be more stressful than what anyone is led to believe. With time and constant revision, eventually I came up with my ideal schedule.
What Is an Ideal Schedule?
An ideal schedule is one that works for you and your family. It is something that change to meet your needs. My schedule can change depending on several factors such as whether school is in. I enjoy having the freedom to just stop what I’m doing so that I can go and do what I want to do it. I like working out first thing in the morning and being done with the majority of my work by the time our youngest child finishes his school day.
Your ideal schedule doesn’t have to be the same as mine. It should reflect the specific days and times that you’ll devote to your business, but you must also keep flexibility in mind.
Why Is an Ideal Schedule Important to Your Life?
Working from home the dream come true that many believe it is. Don’t get me wrong – it’s fantastic. I don’t worry about office politics. I don’t worry about before or after school care. I don’t worry about missing work. It certainly beats law firm life and cubicle life.
Yet, it’s also more stressful than what most people think. Even if you have school age children, there are days when they don’t have school. There are days when, no matter their age, all they want is your attention. Then, add in chores around the house, cooking, and some time to get the hell out of the house (because for most people, isolation leads to depression).
It’s a lot to manage.
An ideal schedule helps you:
- Create a routine for yourself and your family;
- Helps you become more productive because you can schedule your work responsibilities around the time of day that you are naturally the most energetic and focused;
- Helps you set boundaries with your clients (just don’t get too crazy with your hours or how often you change them; clients need providers who are available when they need them);
- Helps you better manage your time and your responsibilities.
Protecting Your Time Is Important
We all have at least one family that thinks that just because you work from home that you can babysit their children, run their errands, or whatever…because they have a “real” job and you don’t. Sometimes, those people even live in your house… It’s a giant misconception that those of us who work from home really don’t work. I guess people think money just magically falls from the sky and into our bank accounts.
Doing something nice for your traditionally employed friends and family members every so often is just fine. The problem is that if you do it early in your work from home career (and do it often), you set up precedence that you can and will do it. And they will expect it (and often won’t even pay you for it). Because, you know, you can work “later.” Working later means you’re probably not going to be at your peak. You’re tired. You put off work then because who in the hell wants to work all night after being busy all day (or vice versa if you’re a night owl). Your clients get results that simply aren’t your best.
Working an ideal schedule and learning to say no to people protects your time so that you can better provide for your family while keeping your sanity.