Able to work from home for the last four to five years, I have been beyond blessed. Primarily, it enables me to be a mom who is able to be home with my two boys when they are home from school, like today’s snow day. I am still able to get work accomplished, but I am also able to watch them play in the snow and make them hot chocolate when they come in. Nothing makes my heart happier than to be able to be there for my children, instead of being in an office while they are home with a babysitter. This makes me a happier mom, and a much happier employee.
Although I do not own my own business, I am still able to work from home and follow my passions. I love encouraging others and seeing them succeed, and have learned that my purpose in this life is to inspire others, helping them find the potential within. I have been able to do just that, while working from home for someone else.
I was originally put in charge of a program called Fearless Deadlines. It was all about helping people hit their deadlines week in and week out. I absolutely loved it, and I loved the group of people that I was helping. But, as time went along, I realized that I was much better at helping them stay accountable, lifting them up when they did a great job, calling them out when they fell short.
So, Ben Adkins and I put our heads together. We came up with a new program called Syndicate Momentum. This program is specifically for anyone who has had an internet business for at least six months and have yet to break the $10k-per-month mark. We meet on a weekly basis, going over what each person is focused on for the week. Business owners, in the past, have worked for other people—had someone else telling them what they needed to be focused on, and when they needed to get their work completed by. When they made the switch to becoming their own boss, they found that they were lacking self-accountability. That is where my program steps in and helps hold them accountable, narrowing the focus to one thing that will move their business forward in big ways.
Even though I was already really busy with my everyday work and being a mom, I was able to help create a new program that brings in $10k every single month for our company. Let me show you the steps that I took to discover that critical balance we all search for when working from home while we are pulled in a myriad of different directions. We will go over:
- Determining what your definition of happiness at work and home looks like.
- How to find the time for your 9-to-5, your family, and your passions.
- How to set your own schedule so that you are in control of your time.
- How to protect both work time and home time.
- Five ways to ensure you’re a success at both work and home.
Determining what your definition of happiness at work and home looks like
When finding balance while working from home, the first thing that you need to do is determine what you feel happiness at work looks like, and what happiness at home looks like, as well. Happiness for me will not look the same as it does for you. Everyone has a different idea of what their ideal life looks like to them.
The term work/life balance means that you are spending equal amounts of time at work and at life. But, in reality, our definition of balance may not be equal amounts. Your definition may be more time at life and less time at work. Or, you may be very focused on getting your business to a certain point. For now, your definition may be more time at work than at life. Whatever your definition is, it’s the right one if it works for you.
There are 168 hours in a week. If you are someone who sleeps eight hours every night (I’m one of those people) that would leave you 112 hours left to do everything else. Instead of trying to achieve a perfect balance between the two, let’s ask ourselves, “What do I want to achieve at work, and what do I want to do more of with my non-work time?” This is a fairly simple question that most of you can easily answer. It may be that you want to create a new product, or grow your sales to a certain dollar amount. It may also be that you want to have a date night with your spouse every week, or that you want to start working out.
Let’s discuss how to find the time for everything in that 112 hours we have left.
How to find the time for your 9-to-5, your family, and your passions
Now that we know what your definition of happiness at work and at home looks like, let’s discuss how to fit that all into our week and still keep our sanity.
In order to fit everything into our week, we need to become better stewards of our time. This means prioritizing what we want to accomplish in a set period of time, and spending our time on important tasks instead of easy things. For example, if you are wanting to start a workout routine on your free time, but you don’t know how you will squeeze it into your day, let me ask you this, how much time do you spend watching television every week? Watching TV is doing something easy, instead of doing what you believe is important. Let’s be strategic about how we spend our 112 hours. I want to challenge you.
At the beginning of the week, I want you to write a task list for yourself. At the top of this list, write down Career in one column, then two other areas that you want to focus on during your non-working time: relationships, yourself, your family, a hobby—whatever you feel that you want to have the time to do during your off time.
At the beginning of each week, I want you to write down, at least, something that you want to accomplish in each of these columns. Make that task as specific as possible. If you are going to do something with your family, what is that one thing you want to accomplish with your family? If I want to have a date night with my husband, a dinner with my girlfriends, and take my kids to the movie, writing these things out forces me to look at my calendar and schedule them, planning ahead by making the time. This way, I avoid waking up on Sunday and realizing that I didn’t do anything to make my family and personal life just as important as being a success at work. It’s all about being intentional in what we want to accomplish, not just at work, but in all areas of our lives. Living with intention, instead of just floating through life, is a pretty incredible feeling.
Cali Yost, founder and CEO at Flex+Strategy Group/Work+Life Fit, explains it best, “Work ebbs and flows. There are times when you’re busy; there are times when you’re not as busy. It’s always changing. We all have completely different sets of work and personal realities at any one time. Naturally, how those fit together is going to be completely different for each of us. In this sense, we’re like snowflakes: You’ll never see the same combinational [of work and personal realities] twice. Each of us can optimize our work-life fit differently. The equation will be different for each of us.”
How to set your own schedule so that you are in control of your time
I realize that when we have a million things going on at work, and more than a million things going on at home, finding a balance will not be an easy thing to do, and that it could be easy to become overwhelmed.
One of the best ways to make sure that you do not get overwhelmed is to fiercely protect the time you devote to activities, both at work and at home. That means planning and prioritizing activities.
If you are finding that you are spending too much time on a task that is not fulfilling you, outsource it, at work or at home. If you hate mowing the grass, but you know it has to be done, hire that out and spend that time doing something for you.
Protect both work time and home time
We know that finding a good work/life balance will be difficult, and we know it will eventually pay off, but how do we make it happen? We are able to do that by protecting our time, both at work and at home.
Stick to a schedule
This means establishing working hours. Depending on what type of business you are in, this may be challenging, but try to set some fixed office hours. They can be flexible or irregular, but stick to them. By sticking to a schedule, it will help you stay focused on work during your set hours, because you will only be able to accomplish a certain amount of tasks in the hours that you have set for yourself. Knowing that in advance helps motivate you to make your work time as productive as possible. This also helps you set and schedule time for yourself, and your family as well, helping you feel a little more balanced.
Although I work from home, I have pretty standard working hours. I do that because that is what works for me. I want to get my work completed during the times that my husband is at work and my children are at school, leaving my afternoons to focus on just them. That schedule works great for me. For others in our company, working late afternoon and nights fits better. They get more focused time late into the night when their home is quiet. I am currently pregnant with our third child. What my work schedule looks like right now may look totally different six months from now when I have a newborn in the house. I have a feeling that I will be working when the baby is sleeping. What I saying is that no schedule will work for every person. You need to find what works for you and your family. Only you can answer that.
Set expectations for others
By setting a working schedule, this will help you set expectations with others, as well. Let your colleagues know the hours that you plan to work, and the hours that you do not want to be disturbed. This includes during your work time, when you can be interrupted and when you will be focused and wish to not be disturbed. This will help your colleagues know when they can expect to hear from you, and when you cannot be reached.
Set realistic expectations for yourself
I feel like I say this a lot, but only you know how well you work and when you do your best work. That means that only you can set your pace. Do not try to schedule more during your workday than you know you can handle. Overscheduling yourself will lead to feeling like you fail day in and day out. You need to feel like you are able to win. That means setting realistic expectations for yourself. I feel like this can be applied to home life, as well. Only you know what you want and can accomplish in any set amount of time.
5 Way to ensure you’re a success at both work and home
Now that we know how to schedule our time for work and for personal time, let’s take a look at five ways to ensure you are a success at both.
Prioritize your time
Not all tasks are created equal. Some tasks are going to be more important than others. Focus on the things that really matter, both at work and at home. There will be days when work will take over personal time and there will be days when personal time will take over some work time. It will never be perfect. But, if we can prioritize our time, we can make sure the most important things are getting done.
Give it your all
This means when you are working, focus on just work. Try not to think or focus on things that are going on outside of work. When you are on personal time, try not to focus on work. This will probably be the most difficult thing, but if you are truly focused, you will get more done in a short amount of time than you ever have before.
Turn off your phone
Yep, you heard me right. Turn off your phone. I use to have all kinds of alerts on my phone. The main one was my email alert. It would go off all hours of the day and night. No matter where I was, or what I was doing, I felt I had to check the email. I knew that whatever was on the email could wait to be addressed in the morning when I was working, but that didn’t stop me from checking the emails anyhow. My personal time was miserable because I felt like I had never left work. The same thing applies to Facebook alerts. If your Facebook alert is going off on your phone all day long, while you are working, that will leave you distracted and unfocused on the one thing that you need to accomplish for the day.
Be gentle with yourself
If you start on something new and find that it soon gets pushed to the side because of your everyday life, understand that that is normal. You have not failed. You are just feeling the same bumps in the road that we all find as we struggle to find a balance between work and life. If it something that you are passionate about, keep going. You will likely find that you will hit many bumps along the way, but as long as you are moving forward and making progress, then it is all worth it. Remember, it won’t always be easy, but it will eventually pay off.
Make it yours
Do not get caught up in activities if they don’t fit your tastes or pace. Spend time doing the things that you really love and are passionate about. Remember, the purpose in trying to find balance in work and in life is to reduce stress and have the time for the things that we love. If things are not working out quite right, move on to something that works for you!
Everyone’s work and personal life will look different. Find the balance that works best for you. What do you do to ensure that you have a healthy balance at work and at home?
- How to become your own boss in less than 365 days - February 9, 2016
- How I was Able to Create a $10k a Month Revenue Stream and Still be a Rock Star Mom and Employee - February 1, 2016
- The 4 Pieces you Must Have to Reach $10k per Month Working from Home - January 22, 2016
- Getting More Organized: 4 Ways to Triple Your 2016 Income - January 11, 2016
- How your procrastination is keeping you from earning 5 figures a month (and the 5 ways to fix it) - January 1, 2016
- 4 Steps to an Elevator Speech that will Increase Your Leads in a Week - December 18, 2015
- 4 Ways Your Perfectionism Kills Your Success and How to Correct Them - December 2, 2015
- 6 Steps to a Creative Employee Handbook (While Keeping you Legally Protected) - November 16, 2015
- How To Cut Your Work Week In Half By Using Procrastination Killers - November 4, 2015
- How to Make Your New Employee Fall in Love with Your Company from Day One - October 28, 2015