Achieving the right balance between work and life can be difficult, but home office workers have special considerations that add complexity to the quest for achieving balance. At the same time, a home office worker also has incredible freedom and opportunity to create an environment in which they truly can find balance. These are some of the ways home office workers can achieve balance in their lives:
Set definable goals. Get the family involved in the discussion process and set family goals as well as personal goals. Write down both personal needs and family needs, and convert these needs into actionable goals. Discuss desires, hopes and dreams and convert those into actionable goals as well. Make a set of long term goals and break them down into yearly, monthly, weekly and daily actions necessary to achieve these goals. To achieve balance and harmony, take action.
Time And Opportunity Cost
The balance for most is between time and money, but the conflicts are the result of opportunity cost. Suppose ten hours of work and four hours of family time each day. A one hour increase in working time is only a ten percent increase, but costs 25 percent of the family time. Does the family agree that is an acceptable cost? Does that lead to balance? Ask these questions on a day-to-day basis. When it is time to work, work; and when work time is over, leave the office and close the door.
Establish Financial Control
Make and keep a budget. Income can increase or decrease, just as expenses can increase or decrease. Know what your expenses are and where the money goes. Workers often feel forced to work harder and longer in order to pay for household expenses they do not control. Use a budget to eliminate unnecessary expenditures and those that do not contribute to quality of life. Solid control of a family’s finances is a major step in achieving balance and harmony.
Maximize Productivity and Income
The home office worker must focus on maximizing income for hours spent working. Do social media websites and news sites fritter away time and hinder productivity? Increase productivity and earnings by eliminating non-productive uses of time. These is the equivalent of daily impulse purchases at a convenience store. Use the Leechblock extension for Firefox browsers or the Stay Focused extension for Google Chrome to help with procrastination.
Consider Radical Change
Many home office workers have mobility options that traditional workers do not because they can take their job with them. Relocation can cut expenses and increase quality of life in many ways. Internet-based workers can theoretically relocate anywhere in the world, assuming the necessary infrastructure is available. Many at-home workers have dramatically lowered their cost of living by moving to a new home less than 50 miles from their current home. Others choose to move long distances to be closer to family or live in a warmer climate.
Achieving balance may require radical change, so don’t be afraid to lay all options on the table.
• Downsizing: Cut housing cost and mortgage expense
• Lower cost of living: Cheaper equivalent housing, lower taxes, fewer expenses
• Increase economic opportunities: Get closer to larger target market
• Better educational opportunities: Schools for children, college or work for adults
• Better climate: Higher quality of life
Control Your Environment
Lack of control over the environment of a home office can be a huge source of distraction, tension and conflict. Environmental control for the home office worker, especially those with families, is the process of setting boundaries and saying no. Time spent in the office is time at work, no different from time spent in an office at a company headquarters. This can be difficult, but the solution is to set boundaries and schedule time spent in the home office. When work time is over, leave the home office and give life some time.
Be willing to experiment and change to achieve balance. Keep what works, discard what does not and always be willing to consider a new angle. Home office workers often have incredible freedom to schedule their work, so use that freedom to meet needs, fulfill desires and achieve balance.