By Guest Blogger Stacy Stevens
“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?” – Henry David Thoreau
When I chose to begin working from home, I thought, “Sweet! I will finally get to see my boys, spend time with them and really enjoy motherhood! HA! I felt busier than when I was working a J.O.B. 40 hours a week. My sons complained more that I was always working and never had time for them. I was disappointed because I never seemed to have enough time to get my work projects done. How was this better than working for someone else!? Well, I knew that it COULD be better; I just had to figure out how. I have been working from home for about 2 years now and have a wonderful (to say the least!) income and time to take my boys to and from school, help with their homework and spend quality time with them! I have it all and all it took was managing my time and responsibilities better. Here’s what I learned:
1. Create a list of actions for yourself AND your family for the day. I love to do this at the family dinner the night before. This allows me to make sure that everyone’s needs are considered. This action list will include: all my expectations of what I would like to accomplish for work the next day; the kid’s chores, play activities, sports and other activities; and the significant other’s plans for the day. Sounds like a lot, but it is no more than happens in my day without a plan. Seems better to get the schedule straight than wing it, be busy all day and get nothing done.
2. Have the family members assign the amount of time that they think each activity will take and who needs to participate. By doing this I found out that my kids really wanted me to do things with them not just be there! Go figure! With times allotted to each activity, I could correlate the schedule so that my work activities corresponded to their independent activities. The bonus was that I also got much needed playtime breaks! Remember, however, that no matter how much fun you are having, when the next activity is scheduled to begin, you need to stop playing and get back to work! It took practice to coordinate the schedules and make sure that everyone was doing their assigned tasks, but it was worth it! I was finally able to reap the rewards of the business opportunity that I had undertaken and the rewards of staying at home with the family!
3. Follow the schedule. As I mentioned above, no matter how much fun you are having, work still needs to be done. This will help teach your children responsibility, self-control and best of all time management skills! If you know that you a certain amount of time to complete an undesirable task, then it doesn’t seem too overwhelming. There is an end to the misery! That applied to my work as well. Equally as beneficial is the fact that I know I get to play! That it won’t be all, “wait a minute”, “hold on” or “I will be there right after I…” anymore. I will get to enjoy the opportunity to be WITH my children.
The biggest struggles in the beginning were deciding how long each activity should take, thinking of everything to put on the schedule and coordinating it so that there were not alarms going off for every different person at different time throughout the day! Speaking of alarms, I am sure that there are many programs out there that would do the same thing, but I use Microsoft Outlook. I can put in each persons schedule and have a different song segment plan for each new activity so we automatically know what the next activity is and who it is for when the alarm goes off. By the way, our family dances to the music during transition. Only the bold can have that much fun!!
Be bold, dance, have fun and love that family that you chose to take this new business adventure for!