My Top 2 Work At Home Challenges

Working from home has been a wonderful challenge in and of itself.  Have I overcome the challenges of family, friends, my own innate procrastination and other distractions?    Uhmmmmmmm not even close and if you are at all like me, neither have you!

I recently read  "How I Mastered the Challenge of Working From Home" by Alyssa Gregory.  I feel her pain and her triumph.  For her, the three biggest challenges are Kids, Isolation and Unplugging.   I can agree with all of these in some fashion.  She ends her post with two questions that I have pondered
  • What are your biggest challenges of working from home?
  • What solutions have helped you?
So without further rambling, here are my top  two challenges and how I attempt to over them (and yes I do mean ATTEMPT LOL!)

#1: Procrastination

I am a master procrastinator.  I think it is a personality trait of mine and not a particularly good one.  I can always find something else to do that could wait!  The end result of this is that I play catchup as deadlines loom.  The further away a deadline is, the less getting done today for that deadline. 

My solution is to set shorter deadlines. 
At the beginning of each week, I take my work calendar (MS Outlook) and create tasks that must be completed that week.  Each task to be completed has a due date and may have dependencies as well.  Since Outlook automatically turns a task red when the due date is missed, I have a visual reference for how I am doing that week.   I can also use the status and percent complete to keep track of progress.

Typically, I put 3 tasks per day to complete.  Each task should take no longer than 2 hours.  I give myself at least two hours of  "free time" in my work day.

#2: What are my office hours?

Even after 10 years of working from home, I still find family and friends to be forgetful that just because i am in my sweats or pjs, I am still at work.   I also find that I have to remind myself, I am still at work!  It's a two way street.  

When I first starting working from home, wireless networks were in their infancy.  Wi-fi hotspots, aircards and smart-phones were things of the future!  Heck in the first year as a consultant, I was still using dial up when at my house!   This made it easier to be tethered to a desk!  Therefore office hours were accomodating to client timezones but all were done in an office.  Today with my smart-phone, my aircard, or wi-fi, I can pretty much work anywhere.  What are my office hours?

My solution:
  • Set up time each day I spend tethered to my desk in a dedicated office.
    • Jea knows that a closed door means Mommy cannot be disturbed.
    • Sharing with Bill and Jea when those hours will be each day.
    • Is determined by both my work schedule of calls and family activities/errands.
  • Use my aircard, my smartphone or wi-fi hotspots when I want to take Jea to the playground or run errands/take a trip or take Jea to dance class
  • Not opening my laptop for two hours each evening.  Those are reserved for dinner and family time.  While the actual timeframe may change to accomodate client priorities/timezones, the number of hours does not!   (This is the one that is the hardest for me to follow! I love to play and chat on the computer; just ask my friends and colleagues who find me online at 2 am some nights!)  I previously posted about why I want to shut down the computer: SimplyFun Article Got me to Thinking!
What challenges are you attempting to overcome?

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