By Kimi Clark
So you want to work from home. Maybe you think about things like waking up at your leisure, taking time off whenever you want to, and being able to work in your PJ's. While some of those things ring true, there are many other things to consider.
Here are some questions you might want to think about when considering if you have what it takes to work from home.
Do You Have What It Takes To Work From Home?
1. Can You Set Clear Boundaries?
Ah, let's start with a tough one. That whole work/life balance that we are ever seeking is partially defined by the boundaries you set. This is a hard one to enforce when you work at home as there are countless tasks, chores, and sometimes people around you that need tending to, and you have to have the ability to essentially ‘turn off' at home issues while you're working.
Granted, we can't ‘turn off' children, but we can make sure that kids and family know that when you're working, you're working! (Except for emergencies, of course!) Turn off outside noise also such as phone calls from friends, texting, TV, and even answering the door.
2. Are You Self Motivated?
When you work at home, there's no time clock to tell you when work starts, no boss to give you directions, no coworkers to communicate with and rely on … it's all you, baby! You decide when work starts, what tasks to complete, and when break time is. And speaking of time …
3. Do You Manage Your Time Wisely?
You have to schedule your time as you would with any job. Yes, exceptions can be made, but not every day … otherwise, they'd be the norm and not an exception! Of course, you do have more flexibility, and while it's good to have, it's also easy to take advantage of … both by others and by yourself.
Don't let people assume you have all the time in the world to help them or do things just because you work at home, your time is precious … as they say, time is money! And make sure that you are consistently working in your business and not spending more time on outside influences than you can afford to. Appreciate that you have flexibility, but don't abuse it.
4. Can You Step Away When Necessary? (Or even sometimes when it's not necessary?)
Breaks are an important part of working at home. Now I'm not talking about taking the day off, day after day (unless of course, you're on vacation, then go for it and have a blast!) I'm talking about being able to step away from work, several times a day if you're working a full day. Things that sometimes get overlooked or put off because you have way too much work to do like exercising, eating, and hey I'm just gonna say it … showering, are things that you need to make sure you're taking the time to do.
Then there's being able to step away completely once in a while. Schedule lunch with a friend, go get your grocery shopping done, play with your kids. Even during work time, sometimes taking that extra long break is what you need to get your mind back on track and be able to come back stronger and more focused than ever.
5. Do You Have Adequate Help Or A Plan For Your Kids?
This is by far the toughest thing about working from home. It goes along with boundaries I think and turning off at home issues, but as I mentioned previously, it's not as difficult to avoid the laundry as it is to not notice your children when they're vying for your attention.
If they're at the age where they can entertain themselves and can understand that mommy is working, then great. It's about teaching them to respect that and making sure they have plenty of planned activities to keep them busy when you have to work. Also utilizing their schedule to your advantage: nap time, having a friend over, wanting to watch a movie, etc. Making sure you work hard when they're busy or resting.
If they're babies or toddlers, you've got quite the challenge. I've known moms who say absolutely get child care, and they're able to do that and it works for them. I also know moms who are killing it in their business with no help from anyone other than their spouse. That takes us back to the utilizing their schedule, naptime, early bedtime, and when Daddy can take a shift here and there, and maximize your work efforts then.
Just always make sure you are setting aside that special time to spend with the kids. What works well is for me is bargaining (I don't call it bribing, I call it bargaining!) “If you let mommy work on this article for a couple hours, then we'll go out and go swimming”, or what have you. I'm not talking about a monetary bribe here or more stuff, time with you is what they want, so let them know that once your work is done you'll be able to spend time with them.
6. Are You Self Confident?
When you might not be bringing in a steady paycheck (at least for awhile) and you don't have a boss telling you what a good job you're doing, you've got to be able to keep your spirits up and keep going.
YOU have to be your own biggest cheerleader! Things can get you down, and believe me, you'll get knocked down, probably a few times. Failure is a part of the process (and a part of life, for that matter!) But just remember, ‘It's not how many times you fail that counts, but how many times you get back up'. Be confident in your abilities and chase your dreams.
7. Are You Organized?
Organization will help you stay on track when working at home, no matter what business you're in, but especially if you have multiple clients, it's key.
It's up to you and you only to keep your systems in place: Everything from your finances, to your time schedule, to your workspace. Having things caught up, neat and scheduled will keep your workflow going and you won't have to be taking tons of time away from working to do a complete overhaul of your finances or taking care of the clutter if you keep it consistently in order.
8. Do You Have A Plan?
Know what you're doing, what you're supposed to be doing when what the results should be or what you're hoping to accomplish. Some people like to schedule things online, while others use an old-fashioned planner or list (this really works for me- there's something about being able to put a check mark by or cross tasks off as I complete them that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!).
Make sure you're tackling your most important tasks of the day first, always, and it never hurts to throw in a couple smaller ones so you'll really feel like you got a few things accomplished in one day. :)
Well, there you have it, 8 questions you can ask yourself before you take the plunge. What do you think, do you have what it takes to work-at-home? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
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Kimi Clark is a career stay at home mom turned writer and blogger for hire with a passion for business. She specializes in posts about writing, blogging and entrepreneurship, as well as all things parenting and motherhood. Owner & Founder of The Mom Shopping Network, you’ll find her there writing, hosting giveaways, and supporting moms in both their business and motherhood journey. She’s also a devoted wife and mother of four who loves the beach and her early morning coffee.