Being able to work from home is a blessing (especially if you are a parent with young kids). But, this can also be very challenging. People who start working from home soon realize that they are caught right in the middle of their professional and personal worlds. Hmm…didn’t you expect that working from home to be the solution for balancing these two worlds??? …and YES it is definitely one of the better solutions out there. The only thing is there are a few ground rules you have to play by to make working at home a success. Since starting to work at home I have identified some of these work from home essentials – Schedule, Support, Workspace, Communication. This post is all about ‘Schedules’.
For me, the number one rule for successfully working from home has been all about ‘Setting Schedules’. It could be a monthly, weekly or daily schedule – having a plan for each day is essential. Schedules ensure that you allocate time for each of the tasks that need to get done and avoid one aspect of life overpowering the other…else, You might end up doing laundry the whole day and miss an important work deadline! Thus a schedule is a must! Based on the flexibility you have to work and your work commitments you can create a schedule that works for you.
My typical schedule keeps changing every few months and this is OK. Actually, it’s a more practical approach; as your circumstances change, your schedule must also change to adjust to it.
My current work schedule is such that I work only about 2-3 hours per day and work is mostly scheduled for the night (once both kids are soundly in bed); so usually 10pm-12pm is dedicated for work and I squeeze in another 1 hour of work during the day while my 1-year old naps. One year ago, my schedule was very different and so was my circumstance. At that time I had only one pre-school going kid. My schedule then was such that I do one session of work during the time my son is at preschool (9.00am – 11.00am) in the morning and do the second session of work in the night once my son is in bed (8.00pm – 10.00pm). This allows me to cover typically 4-5 hours of work each day which was my then targeted work commitment.
During then and now, as much as practically possible I try to stick to this schedule each day and ensure that I give my fullest attention to work during the work hours and vice versa. It has worked well for me and as a result, I have been able to successfully meet both my personal and professional responsibilities.
It is not always possible to stick to the same schedule every day, and that is fine. One thing you learn when working from home is that things change always; there is always that emergency at home, there is someone falling ill or you might have an unexpected power outage. The beauty of being able to work at home is that you can easily adapt to those unforeseen events and just change your schedule for that day, week or even month (e.g. During school holidays, during sick days, etc.) and still attend to your personal and professional commitments without much stress.
It has been proven over and over again that having a work schedule reduces stress, allows for better organization of your life and results in improved work productivity. So a Schedule is a MUST have work from home essentials and it definetly allows you to Make It Work.