Friday, February 4, 2011
Protecting Your Work at Home Time & Space
The first objective is to set a schedule for your work hours. Determine what's practical, keeping in mind your ideal time of day (are you a morning bird or does your brain function best at night?) and family schedules. For my situation, it works best for me to work from 5:30-8 a.m. three days a week. I also get some additional work time on other mornings if I'm up early and the kids are sleeping, but three days out of the week, my husband is "on-call" for the kids in the early hours, supervises morning routines and gives them breakfast as I finish up my writing time.
Make sure family members (down to the little ones!) are aware of your planned writing/ working time. Conversely, be fully present for them when you aren't working, minimizing computer time when it's not productive, and your kids will be more respectful of your set work hours.
You'll find that even with a set schedule and plan, you'll need to make an effort almost daily to protect your work at home time and desk/ office area from intrusion, distraction and even your own laziness. To that end, remind family members as needed that you're working, and you'll be able to talk/ help in 10 minutes, an hour -- at your designated stop time. Do not answer the phone while you're doing your work. Do not check your email unless you need something specific for the task at hand.
Keep your work desk neat as a pin -- you will find yourself much more productive when you have a clean, ordered space that feels professional.
Avoiding distractions online -- unnecessary email checking, reading news or forums unrelated to your work at home daily tasks, and other time-wasting traps -- is crucial for your success. Keep yourself on track by writing a short list of items you need to accomplish at your next work session, after finishing the day's tasks and while everything is fresh in your mind.
I keep my daily tasks list in a notebook stored in my top desk drawer. Each morning, I take it out and keep it by my computer as I work, reminding me of what's next and giving me the satisfaction of checking off items I've accomplished.
How do you protect your work at home time and space to increase your writing income?