A lot of people decide to work from home to maintain a work-life balance but it can be very easy to add up the hours, work a 60 hour week and end up overworked and more exhausted. Here are five New Year resolutions to stop running yourself into the ground and burning the candle at both ends.
Work realistic hours
Working from home can mean that you are putting in more than a standard 37.5 hour week. You may start work at 7am and finish at 5pm but after dinner is cooked, the household chores are done and the children are put to bed, you may find yourself putting in an extra few hours before bedtime and working on weekends. Think of why you wanted to work from home in the first place and whether you’re achieving those goals. These hours may be acceptable while you are building up your business and establishing your company but you cannot sustain 60 hour weeks on a long term basis.
New Year Resolution 1: Stop checking your work emails after dinner and cutting down your work hours. This may mean saying no to clients or stop taking on extra work (see below).
Work a set number of hours
When you work from home, it is necessary to communicate the hours of your business not only to your clients but also to your family and friends. Family and friends should not call you during work hours or drop over unexpectedly. You also need work set business hours whether that is 9am to 5pm or 9pm to 5am depending on the nature of your business and only speak to clients within those set time periods unless it is an emergency.
New Year Resolution 2: Set firm boundaries with your clients, family and friends and only work a set number of hours.
Set realistic deadlines
Sometimes when we are establishing a new business, we want to make the client happy so we may set unrealistic deadlines which means you are working long hours into the night and on the weekends. This is a common mistake that new business owners make but with time and confidence, you will be able to negotiate better deadlines with clients and still get your recommended eight hours of sleep.
New Year resolution 3: Set realistic and achievable deadlines for projects that can be completed during set work hours.
Say no to clients
So business is booming and you have the luxury of having more clients than you have time. While this is an enviable position to be in, this may mean that you are working unrealistic hours to accommodate these clients because you do not want to say no to work. Working late hours should be the exception rather than the rule. While it is important to accommodate clients, you should also be setting meetings within your work hours and make a meeting out of those set times, the exception rather than the rule.
New Year Resolution 4: You may have to bit the bullet and refer your clients to a trusted contact who may be able to work with the client. It may mean that you lose a client but you keep your sanity which is much more important.
Stop checking your emails after work
It can be so tempting to check your emails before you go to sleep at night and answer any emails quickly to clear your inbox before you go to sleep. Before you know it, its 1am again and you’ve got ten emails left to read and your new John Grisham novel hasn’t been opened. Drop what you’re doing, step away from the keyboard and turn off the computer.
New Year Resolution 5: Make it a firm rule not to check any emails after 6pm. It can wait until the morning.