Working from Home – Finding a Balance

Don’t let your business cost you your family

So let me ask you a question, why did you start your own business? Many people start a business to have more time with their family and to ensure this happens (and sometimes due to a lack of funds) they set up an office at home and join the many people who find themselves working from home. They then quickly discover that they’re spending less and less time with the people who are most important to them.

Working from Home - Finding a Work-Life Balance

There’s an old saying: “An entrepreneur is someone who will work sixteen hours a day to keep from working eight hours for someone else.” This is often too true – especially in the early days when you have to get the business off the ground and focus on making a profit.

So, how do you find a balance between work and other aspects of your life, particularly if you are working from home?

Below you will find some hints and tip that mey help.

Set a time to stop working and then stick to it. This is hard, but to keep your relationship with your family going well you need to spend time with them. When yu’re working from home it is important that you decide what times you’ll be working and when you’ll stop. This may need to be adjusted for big projects but keep your family informed so they’ll know what to expect.

If you have a tough deadline coming up or a special project, explain it to your family in advance and ask for their help in letting you complete the project undisturbed. Offer a reward such as pizza night and the movies if they let you get your work done.

Your spouse and children need to understand this is your work. There are many mis-conceptions around the whole idea of working from home, you have to ensure that your family understand that It’s how you help provide housing, food and clothes for them. You’re not playing video games, watching movies or on social media all day. Let them know your long-term goals. What do you hope to achieve with your business? If they can share your vision, life becomes much easier.

Try to have a space set up that is for work only. When working from home, it is important to have a dedicated work area that you can walk away from. When you walk away, leave the work behind for the day. Don’t bring your laptop or tablet into the family room and work. When you’re with your children and your spouse, give them your complete attention.

On that point, learn to be mindful and in the moment. When you’re working, don’t worry about the children. When you’re with your children, don’t stress about work.

Don’t procrastinate. There’s nothing worse than having two weeks to work on a project and then waiting until the last minute to get started. You’ll snap at your spouse and children about how you have to get your work done, but the truth is, it’s your fault for waiting so long.

Never take the stress of work out on your children or spouse.

Find other interests besides work. Have a hobby that helps you feel relaxed and brings you joy. Not everything is about money.

Keeping your appointments with your partner and children is as important as the ones with your clients. If you say you’re going to take the kids fishing or to the movies, then do so. When you tell your spouse you’re going to hire a babysitter and go out for date night, then follow through. They’ll understand an occasional emergency. But if you make a habit of cancelling on them, they’ll quickly learn they are a low priority in your life.

Always remember the big picture and don’t get so bogged down in day-to-day details that you can’t take time to enjoy life.

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Till Next Time

Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor

Mike Gardner aka ‘The Time Doctor’ and is highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading Time Management and productivity specialists. As well as being regularly featured in both online and off-line media outlets around the world, he is the author of the best selling time management book, Business Owners: Your Family Misses You. He regularly speaks on topics that are congruent with his mission of helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals to be incredibly productive, whilst still balancing their business and family commitments in a way that enables them to feel fulfilled and guilt-free. He is an avid Aston Villa fan, a Dad to Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role as an Officer with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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12 thoughts on “Working from Home – Finding a Balance

  1. Great tips! Though my blog is not a business for me, I’m almost treating it as such, and have been applying many of the same pointers. As an educator for 25 years, my school work was never over when I left work. I always tried to set a time limit, but often found myself grading papers in front of the TV, keeping my kids and my hubby company while they watched!

  2. I endorse every word you’ve written, Mike. The challenge is that while I know it, it’s not always easy to do the very things you mentions, especially deciding on a time to stop. It just seems that there is always something more to be done. But the point you made about keeping appointments with your family is a vital one that should not be ignored, so finding the right balance is always desirable.

    Thank you for the great content in the post.
    Yvonne A Jones recently posted…Productivity Tips for Busy Professionals – InfographicMy Profile

    • Thanks Yvonne, when we work form home you’re right there is always something else to do, but it can usually wait until tomorrow, and if it can’t then it is prioritisation that is the issue.

  3. I have found these to be some of the toughest disciplines to enact. I finally had to move my office into the spare bedroom so I could *physically* close the door so my family knew when I was with clients and so when I needed to “clock out” for the day. I even posted my “office hours” on the door.

    It has helped dramatically.
    Tonja recently posted…New Workout: Deuces WildMy Profile

    • I had to resort to the same thing when the kids were young, it was just a matter of educating the household, Tonja, thanks for taking the time to drop by

  4. Oh this is so true! I do schedule down time with my hubby, but I have to admit he sometimes needs to come get me away from work because I lose track of time.
    Tammy recently posted…Body ButterMy Profile