Flexible hours with no commute, pajama-clad meetings, and no corporate rules are just the beginning of the perks when you write from home. Of course, you still have a full-time household that isn’t going to run itself. Consider the following tips for developing a successful part-time writing career while maintaining a chaos-free home.
Prepare for Success
- Create A Home Office Set up a work space that works for you. This will keep you from finding yourself on the sofa with a laptop, work splayed across the coffee table, watching cartoons while attempting to craft a profound piece. Let’s face it. You’re probably not going to complete your best writing there.
- Dress for Success The way we dress changes more than just our reflection in the mirror. You don’t necessarily need to wear professional business attire at home to reap the benefits. Think business casual, and you’ll be on your way to a successful writing career.
- Mind The Children If minors are in the picture, don’t forget them! Younger children may benefit if you arrange for child care while you are working. Older kids should be occupied and given a protocol for interruptions during work time.
- Define Chaos Each family has a threshold for Chaos. Some say it’s when a child is involved in two activities simultaneously. Others think it’s the first incident of no clean underwear! Sit down with your family and decide what chaos looks like to you, and create boundaries to avoid it.
- Determine your Work Load Chart your week onto paper to reveal where your time is spent. Look at the white space, or margin, and reserve space for writing. Set your hours and stick to them. Don’t be afraid to turn down work if it exceeds your limit.
- Spend your time wisely Don’t procrastinate. When it’s time to work, turn off the phone, go to your quiet place, and do just that. Conversely, when it’s time to scrub the toilet, scrub the toilet. Don’t be sidetracked by Twitter or Pinterest!
Streamline Your Life
- Simplify your Calendar Keep one communal family calendar to avoid confusion. Tune into the great Calendar: Paper vs. Electronic planner debate, and determine your preference. Cozi is a smart electronic option, which includes an app for your smart phone as well as a website. Features include real-time syncing for each family member.
- Enforce A Single Inbox Policy David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, suggests limiting the number of inboxes in your life. Designate one spot for every incoming paper to land, and train each family member to use it.
- Declutter Studies have shown that clutter is a barrier to a satisfied life. It also adds to chaos. Organize Now is a fantastic resource, giving direction as you work through this daunting task.
- Conduct a Weekly Meeting Sounds nerdy, I know, but the time spent preparing for and holding a weekly family meeting is time well-invested. Touch on upcoming events, solve problems, analyze time management, sing Kumbaya.
- Live One Step Ahead Always be mindful of upcoming events; diligently try to be one step ahead. Spend a day off preparing food for an entire month. Lay out clothing and supplies needed for the week. Set up a house that cleans itself. Utilize downtime wisely, and you daily life will run smoothly.
- Enlist the Help of Your Family Assigned chores are a great way to teach responsibility to children. They also aid in the fight against the ever-dreaded chaos.
- Create a Babysitting Co-Op Put some effort into a babysitting co-op for friends or neighbors, and you’ll reap the benefits of quality care at no cost.
- Accept an Offer for Help There are many friends and family members who willingly lend a hand, and oftentimes we turn down help for whatever reason. Your mother-in-law offers to fold your laundry when she stops in? Let her! You’ll be thanking her later when you’re meeting a deadline instead of folding laundry.
- Hire Extra Hands Don’t be afraid to spend some dough on assistance if you absolutely are feeling chaos at home and have tried everything else. Pay a friend or relative to watch the little ones or find child care online for those times you need absolute peace. Hire a cleaning company to take over the cleaning that never seems to get crossed off the to-do list, or splurge, and have your meals delivered to your home daily.