Using Your Time Wisely when you Work at Home
When you work for yourself, in your own home the line between work and personal time is easily blurred. Being your own boss does allow you greater flexibility with your time than those whose workplace is outside the home, but it’s also a double-edged sword. Sure - you can start working at the crack of dawn and stop at noon or sleep in and work late into the evening; Sure - scheduling appointments is a little easier; Sure - you can take a 2 hour lunch with friends in the middle of the week. But it takes a lot of discipline to remain focused on your work – to be creative and productive – and to not be continually sidetracked by personal activities.
Having a dedicated workspace helps. In my studio I can ignore all of the household stuff that needs doing and simple focus on making and creating.
Maintaining regular work hours also helps. If you let them, other people may unwittingly try to take advantage of the flexibility you have so they plan a meeting, invite you for coffee, ask for help- things they would never ask of those whose work is outside the home. I’m an early riser, so I try to work in my studio for an hour or two in the early morning, and then again from mid-morning until about 4pm. By keeping these times as sacred “working” hours, I’m happier and more productive.
Learning to say no is the final, but most challenging tool I use. I’ve always felt strongly about the importance of volunteering and for years I volunteered a significant amount of time every week. It was work I enjoyed and did well, but like many women, the need to be liked and keep the peace runs deep. So, saying yes was pretty much my default mode even when it impinged on my working time. Then one day I realized I was spending more time on volunteer work than I was being productive and creative in my studio. Balance – a word I focus on more and more these days – applies to volunteering as much as it does to anything else. I began to say no to volunteer activities that happened during my working hours. As a result, I’m more creative and more content with the way I balance of work and personal time.