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The Tough Balancing Act of Working From Home

by Robert

Sometimes when you work from home, things can get a little off balance. You may put too much pressure on yourself and find yourself burned out and frustrated. Here’s my two cents on how to give yourself a break while staying focused at the same time.

You’re at Home All Day So is the Laundry Done?

Okay, so I work from home. Does that mean that the house should be spotless because I am at home all day? Hmmmmm….that’s not exactly how it works around here!

I have to admit, though – sometimes I feel pressured to have such a clean house since I’m here and everyone else is away. Why do I feel this way? I don’t know, maybe because when I stayed home with the kids and did not work from home, I had more time to clean up. And everyone in the house came to rely on me to get the laundry done, wash the dishes, plan the meals and so on.

Well, things have changed now! Now I am in front of the computer for most of the time the kids are in school. I wish I had elves to help me clean while I am typing and marketing, but I don’t.

It comes down to this: I simply have to lower my standards when it comes to everything being done around here – like it (kind-of) used to be.  So rule number one: realize that when you are working at home, it’s the same thing as if you were working away from home! When you are busy, you are busy! You can’t do two things at one time. Give yourself a break when it comes to this.

And since I am now working from home, we have changed some things around here. Now, on the weekend, we all pitch in and clean up for an hour or two – it’s amazing how fast things can get done when we all work together.

The light It’s Blinding Me

Well, maybe that’s a bit dramatic. But yes, sometimes I can get serious cabin fever – especially in the cold winter months. And even though I am naturally a homebody, I cannot be cooped up for too long. Sometimes I like to go hiking and socialize away from the home, but at other times I find myself working day after day after day without leaving the cave, I mean house 🙂

So, I have to make myself leave – yes, go to a coffee shop and work there or even head over to the library. Usually, when it is warmer outside, I go for a little walk or hike. But it has been freezing lately, so I have to resort to other ideas. So yes, sometimes you must make yourself leave the house so you don’t get into a rut. Some people don’t have this problem, of course, but I do.

When It’s Quittin’ Time

Another issue I will talk about is not overextending yourself. At times I will be working on a major project of some sort, and I will be obsessed with finishing it! I have no definite deadline for it to be done, but I just want it to be done NOW! So I will let my work time bleed into my family time. That really leads to a lot of frustration for me, because it’s hard to help the kids with homework or cook dinner when you are glued to the computer.

So now I’m a lot more disciplined when it comes to work and family time. I have a cut off time. When the kids come home from school, I am not going to be finishing up a project on my computer. No, I am going to draw the line there. Of course, there may be times when I have to get on a webinar or make a phone call, but those are planned and not a daily occurrence. I try to limit the amount of work I do during the evenings. But at night, after the kids are in bed, I can start working again if I need to finish up a project or something.

Attempting to Get it Right

So there you have it – my thoughts about how to (attempt to) strike a happy balance at home even when you are working from home. Even though it has its challenges, working from home has so many benefits – so it’s totally worth it! I mean, last night my daughter was so sick. She was crying due to having such a bad stomach ache. I stayed up with her for a while. I knew she would be exhausted if I sent her to school, and she still felt pretty bad in the morning. I love the fact that I can just take a day off of work to stay home with her – without having to call in to work.

I like having that control in my life. I think I feel so strongly about this because when I first had my daughter, I worked (very part time) for the first year of her life. I remember telling my boss that I had to stay home with her since she was sick – my boss told me that I needed to have a backup plan – that someone else should watch her when she is sick. Yes, I know that is an extreme example, but nevertheless, I see the benefits of working from home. As long as we can work on keeping things balanced, then it can be a wonderful experience.

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