Working from home is no joke. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve heard people sigh longingly, look at me wistfully, and even declare I was lucky to have such a cruisy life because I got to work from home. Yes, I can’t deny it, working from home has its perks and we’ll get to that in a minute, but for the most part, it’s damn hard and completely underestimated. It’s also extremely fulfilling and rewarding if that little thing called balance is applied.
Ahhh BALANCE. Easy to say that word, not so easy to implement, right?
I’ve discovered balance is possible, but we simply cannot have a perfectionist mind-set towards it if we want to thrive. We do however, have to have a non-negotiable attitude and of course, a plan.
Working from home requires a woman to have ironclad discipline, razor sharp multitasking skills, expert time management abilities, limitless self-motivation and the ability to capture elusive inspiration out of nowhere. Every day she must practise kicking stress to the curb, and have thick skin and a strong heart for those times when things don’t always go to plan and there’s no one around to rant with.
She must deal with every facet of business – just like any other business – and staunchly avoid the temptation of the couch, the TV remote or the cosy (still warm) bed calling to her from down the hallway. She must limit the coffee dates with her girlfriends and learn to walk past that hurricane mess her family so thoughtfully left behind on their way out the door, without letting it distract or derail her.
THIS is where the rubber hits the road for a woman who works from home. If your situation is similar to mine, your desk is right in the eye of the storm and you can’t even glance to your left or right without seeing something that simply NEEDS to be done. It’s like an itch you just have to scratch, and before you know it you’re knee deep in that washing pile, or elbows deep in the dishwater, and half the day has disappeared.
Basically you are confronted and tested every single day with not one, but two completely different, equally demanding, time-hungry job portfolios, and if you have a husband and kids, then number two already feels like a full-time job. I know someone out there is nodding furiously right now!
So what do we do about it? Because we love our little empire growing quietly (or loudly) in the background we need to work this out and ditch the insane pressure that comes with being our own version of Wonder Woman.
Our business brings us a deep sense of fulfilment, purpose, freedom, and hopefully money. It is a slice of who we are and part of our contribution to life, so learning how to fine tune and work out some of these judder bars is an absolute must if we want to live a balanced, stress-free life.
Here are some practical tips to help you free up some time, boost your productivity and thrive at this balance game.
If you can, don’t leave the mess until later when you’re neck-deep in your work zone. Otherwise, tell yourself before you sit down that you will be absolutely ruthless in your focus and will not let anything draw you away until you’ve accomplished what you came to accomplish! Another word for this is mindfulness, which trains your mind to pay attention to the present moment. The art and practice of mindfulness can produce amazing positives in your life, including increased wisdom and decreased stress and depression.
Don’t wait until there are only two hands to do everything in the morning. Enlist the help of your family for 15 minutes, either before bed or first thing in the morning, to do a quick tidy up. Note to self: Tidy – not spring clean! This little exercise can be quite the team building experience, with everyone feeling like they’re winning before the day even starts.
Get organised the night before. It sure beats chasing your tail first thing in the morning. Or at the very least, tidy your desk so when you return in the morning you’re not wasting brain space and feeding stress levels trying to figure out where everything is. Make sure that once you have organised yourself for the next day, you switch off and disconnect so a good night’s sleep is well within your grasp. Yes that includes turning your cell phone off! *gasp*
On the subject of digital devices, don’t reach for your phone as soon as your eyes open. Those notifications aren’t going anywhere and the last thing you want is to become instantaneously stressed out, because there’s at least one in the queue that probably won’t be helpful to your mood. Even if you don’t get a stressy message first thing in the morning, if you scroll through facebook and expose yourself to that skippy-bin full of rubbish, you are bound to be affected and influenced in some way, shape or form.
Start your day right. Take time to be human and spread a little quality love around – remembering that you aren’t the only one who has to face the day. Don’t let quality time with your partner and kids around the breakfast table be reduced to a quick peck on the cheek as you race them out the door, or leave your kids crying in their cereal bowls because someone replaced mummy with a screaming banshee. Give yourself a little reality check – some things are just more important than those deadlines nipping at your heels.
And last but not least, STOP. Breathe. Give yourself a well-deserved break, and don’t forget to celebrate the wins – no matter how small they are. And for goodness sake, apply a little grace to yourself. Give yourself permission to be impressed with how awesome you are. Tell yourself you are amazing just the way you are. Screw Wonder Woman – she ain’t got nothing on you!