By Aimee Woodley
Working from home. It can seem like a fabulous idea.
Make your own schedule, conduct virtual meetings in your pajama pants, no commute…but then summer hits. With its distractingly beautiful sunny days, the laughter of kids playing outside, and those tempting out-of-town trips, it can be hard to get anything productive done. If you work from home, you’ve probably already discovered that it requires self-discipline, but summertime brings an extra challenge.
To-do lists and schedules always seem to be my go-to for making it through the day, regardless of the time of year. In the summer, these things take on a different look. Instead of a daily list, I usually have a prioritized list for the week. My schedule shifts from a usual routine of daily tasks to grouping things into chunks. Monday is following up with current clients, Tuesday is reaching out to brand new clients, Wednesday is following up with potential clients who have expressed interest, Thursday is for paperwork and marketing, and Friday is any catch-up work from previous days. If I’ve done everything on time earlier in the week, Friday becomes a reward day to start the weekend early! Find something that works for you and your business. Perhaps two weeks on, one week off, or shifting your hours to doing customer contacts in the morning, paperwork after dinner, and take the afternoon to enjoy a bit of sunshine. Working from home may make for some difficulties, but it also means you have the opportunity to reward yourself for hard work.
Other obstacles to a productive day involve our little people.
We love them dearly, but it can be hard to concentrate when they are enjoying their summer loudly in the same vicinity. Implementing a “quiet time” or saving special treats/toys for when you need a little extra quiet work well. If your munchkins are a little younger, take advantage of that sweet period we call nap time. Are your kids a little older and no longer doze in the middle of the day? A trip to the library’s story time or the park may be in order, where a bench has your name on it.
Maybe the obstacle isn’t children in your own home, but everywhere around you! The neighborhood is alive with the noise of laughter, lawn mowers, and basketball games. It can be a little hard to concentrate with all of that going on. Working from home doesn’t have to mean working from “home.” Be mobile! A quiet coffee shop, library nook, or grassy spot under your favorite tree at the park can be an excellent place to make calls to your customers, take care of paperwork, and brainstorm new ideas.
The key seems to be finding a balance between getting the work done and still enjoying the perks of your home-based business. Working from home is a wonderful blessing to have, but you need to be sure that this blessing does not derail your business.