“My office is taking over my home,” lamented a new client when she first called me. This is very common along with “I’m always behind on whatever I do.”
I’ve been able to work at home successfully because I have a system. With a system I can get my work done and keep my office and home organized. This isn’t about clean desks and time schedules and sorting and cleaning. I tell my clients not to confuse a system with a regimen. A system is something that solves the problem of competing demands on you on your time and your space.
When your past experience is working at an office from 9 am to 5 pm you are probably still thinking of this type of schedule. It’s time to rethink! You used to manage everything at home with left over time from work. Part of the fun of working at home is the opportunity to create a system that is more suited to your personal likes and dislikes because now you have the time.
Become a self organizer. For example, the last thing I do in the evening, is make my schedule for the next day with all the events to attend, projects to work on, and articles and blog posts that are due. I don’t do everything but I have a calendar of my projects and their deadlines.
The first thing I do in the morning is write – a blog post or two, an article…something over a cup a coffee. Then it’s email and breakfast and tweaking my schedule. I also like to get my basic aerobic exercise done in the morning.
If that sounds like a lot…it probably is but I get up early so I can fit everything in.
My schedule varies each day. For instance, if I know I’m going to be playing golf in the afternoon, I’ll make sure I have a few hours late afternoon or evening to get some work done. If I’m starting a new project and need to interview a half dozen people I’ll leave an entire morning or afternoon for the calls. From experience I’ve discovered that I rarely get a hold of anyone on the first call so I want to leave a couple f hours when they can call me back. For example, I may start the calling at 8:30 AM and be available at my office until 12 -12:30 PM.
Just about everything I do has a deadline. I work better under a timeline than a rush to meet a deadline. When I have a significant assignment I like to finish it a week or 10 days early, let it sit in the file for 2 or 3 days, and then start editing it. I may edit the article once in the morning and again in the evening. I really believe nothing I write is ever complete but after editing the story 5 or 6 times I submit the story 2 or 3 days early giving the editor time to question me before her deadline.
As a self-organizer I also take complete responsibility for what happens in my work.
It takes a while to get used to working for yourself and to get comfortable working at home. I truly enjoy working at home and the arrangement worked out very well for my life.
In my next post I’ll give you steps that I use to create my system at home. I believe it will be helpful getting you off the ground in your business. If you do work at home, let me know your greatest concern. Maybe I can discuss a solution in my next post.
To your success being organized while working at home,