That is the sound of the end of the first perfect day of 2012. Today my eldest son returned to TAFE, my youngest has been at school for a week now, and my day returned to what I have come to think of as normal.
The house empty of alarmingly curious young people.
It’s tough working from home, worse when all the family is underfoot. TV, phone calls, visitors dropping in without warning, the need for coffee or craving something different for lunch all need to be fought against to keep the words flowing.
How do I cope with interruptions? Not always well. It takes time to educate family and friends that you really are working as if you had a day job elsewhere. All-day trips to the shops should not be a weekly event. Sitting still does not mean you need to be entertained. You don’t get much done when you are not at your place of business, as I’ve come to think of my work space as being.
So, what have I incorporated into my routine to stay on track?
1. Decide on realistic hours of business straight off. My regency world operates between 9am and 3pm most of the time. I slip up occassionally when I have deadlines but I try really hard to stick to a work plan.
2. I don’t answer the phone until I break for lunch or after my set work hours. Of course, I’m screening calls but I won’t pick up unless its urgent. Spending time on Twitter, facebook and blogs is good networking and fun, but I try to use them as short breaks rather than long distractions.
3. I work on new material when I’m most alert. I’m a morning person so I spend most mornings on new material, then later I’ll switch to editing, or one of the other hundred things I need to do as a published author.
4. I keep a log of my activity in a diary. Days can blur together when you are your own boss. It’s also easier to see what’s getting in the way of a decent days work when you are that accountable with yourself.
5. I give myself days off for good behavior. Some days never start well. Even when I went out to a day job, with time cards and bosses breathing down my neck for tardiness, I still occassionally goofed around. You honestly cannot be creative 100% of the time and still love your job. That’s my goal, to always love this job, career, writing life.
If you work from home it takes effort to stick with it when there are so many possibilities to interfere with your plans. Driving the kids to school (when there is a perfectly reliable bus passing your house), hours spent on researching the perfect Easter Hat creation are just two things that might affect the work from home entrepreneur. If you have tips, things that work for you, as a work from home author or business person, I’d love to hear them.