Monday, July 25, 2011

Why You Need Scheduled Time to Work from Home

In previous posts, I've suggested work-at-home moms have a regular, scheduled time when they work everyday, rather than leaving work time up to fate. Today we're going to examine three benefits to having a work schedule.

1. It helps you accomplish more.

If you have a regular work time, you can plan. You know you will have so many hours each day to work, which will result in a certain number of hours per week. Whether your business be sewing or photography or writing, you can plan projects and have an idea of where you'll be a week from now, if not a month or more from now. It also guarantees you'll accomplish projects. If you have two hours of your afternoon set aside for work, you'll probably find little interferes with it.

2. It helps your family adjust.

It can be hard to spending time working while your kids are in the other room otherwise entertained. However, if you work at the same time every day, your kids will become used to your schedule. They know there is a time limit. They will have mommy back in an hour or so, and they grow used to entertaining themselves while you work. I have watched this happen over the summer with my four year old. He was in preschool this winter when I had my "writing" time. He is now used to entertaining himself or watching a movie while his younger brother naps and mommy writes.

3. It helps your clients and other business contacts.

As your business grows, you will start getting clients and working with other business professionals. Those individuals need to know they can depend on you to complete your task. If your work pattern is sporadic, how does your editor know you will be able to produce that manuscript in six months? How does your client know you will finish the sewing project or painting by the end of the week, when you can't even guarantee you'll have time to work? I recently had this come up in a phone interview with a literary agent. The first question out of her mouth was, "With two kids and a husband in the ministry, when do you find time to write?" Fortunately, I was able not only to answer her question, but to estimate when I would have my next book finished as well.

Examine your work-at-home patterns Are they stable and consistent? Something your family is used to and your business associates and clients can depend on? If not, play with your schedule until you find a way to be more consistent.

Questions: Do you have a regular, scheduled work time? If so, when? Have you found certain times are better than others to work from home?


  1. Oh how I wish I could be as disciplined as you! These are all such important points, and you really demonstrated one vividly when you shared how you were able to quickly and clearly answer your agent's very legitimate question! Good post, Naomi.

  2. One thing that has helped me--and that I encourage others to do as well--is to make a time journal. For at least a couple of days one week, jot down in 15 minute increments what you do, such as get dressed, wash dishes, vaccum, check email, etc. Use a stop watch if you need to, but be honest. This is just for you! Then weed out your time-wasters and see where you could squeeze in time for work.

    It helped me tremendously to do this and now I find that my freelance writing is not sliding and household chores have their place as well in my schedule.

    One more thing that can be helpful is to plan your upcoming week on Saturday or Sunday. Under each day/date, put any household chores (such as grocery shopping or laundry), appointments (for your kids, too, since you'll have to take them) and work-related projects (such as scheduled interviews, project due dates and writing goals). This will help you keep in mind what needs to be done and what can slid to the next week.