Working from home is an incredible opportunity for many people. Especially for women who prefer to be close to their school-aged children. The thought of setting your own work schedule and becoming your own boss sounds like a dream come true. Instead of having to put on an embarrassing company uniform or stuffy office attire, you can simply roll out of bed in cozy pajamas and begin your work day. Whether you are interested in becoming a home business entrepreneur, a freelance writer, or a virtual assistant, it seems that the convenience of a home office makes life so simple. Or does it?
While all of this sounds like an excellent lifestyle on paper, it may surprise you to hear how many new work-at-home mothers find out that their latest job is one of the most challenging responsibilities they've ever had. Even more unexpected is the reason behind this: an enormous lack of self-discipline!
A Work-at-Home Job Versus Commuting to Work
Working outside the home means there is a structured system built for you from the get-go. You know exactly what time you're supposed to start working, how long your workday is, and what is required of you. You know that failing to carry out the tasks you've been assigned within the allotted time frame can eventually lead to bad consequences.
People tend to follow a routine at work without thinking twice about it. It is often a very different story when you no longer have an authority figure looking over your shoulder. This means developing self-discipline is a crucial step in becoming a successful work-at-home mom. This article will explore some methods that can help you build and maintain the discipline necessary for this kind of work.
Choose a Job that Suits You
Picking a work-at-home position that personally suits you is the most important step in being able to maintain self-discipline. If you do not enjoy the work that you're doing, chances are you won't do it. Of course, not every single aspect of any job is enjoyable. But if you choose a home occupation that you dread more than you enjoy, it is probably not going to work out well for you. You will likely find yourself procrastinating and continually putting off responsibilities. Over time, you may find that you're no longer making enough income to justify working from your home office.
If you despise writing, don't become a freelance writer or blogger. If you are a highly introverted person, don't telecommute for a call center or work as a customer service representative. Luckily, there is such a vast range of work-at-home opportunities that you will definitely find something you like. With satisfaction comes motivation, and with motivation comes discipline!
Set a Schedule for Yourself and Stick to It
The idea of a flexible schedule may have been one of the main reasons you've decided to work from a home. But the reality is that without any set schedule, the likelihood of completing tasks in a time-efficient manner is unlikely. This is especially true if you have chosen a work-at-home position that requires you to make or answer phone calls. If you are not regularly available to speak to potential customers, your business is going to fail.
Some work-at-home opportunities allow a bit more flexibility than others. If you are planning on adopting a loose schedule, choose a field that does not require hard deadlines. For instance, instead of appointment setting, consider freelance work which allows you to set your own time limits.
Create a Pleasant Home Office and Work Environment
Designating a particular room as a workspace and making it your own can do wonders for your motivation. It is also essential that this office space is quiet. If you have young children, you should consider working only during the hours that they are in school or daycare to minimize distractions. Constant disturbances when you are attempting to complete assignments can be very frustrating. They can also lower your productivity. Think about utilizing professional office services to support your business. Use only reputable high-speed internet companies, top-quality scheduling software, and a reliable online faxing service.
Make the space inviting. Add pictures of your family, fresh flowers in vases or handcrafted corkboards to post your to-do lists. Attempting to concentrate at a cluttered table, or a room with piles of dirty laundry can take your mind off of the task at hand.
Set Goals for Income and Reward Yourself
Presumably, you already had a budget before making the decision to begin working from home. You know how much your bills are, what amount you want to put in savings, and what sort of income you need to support your family comfortably. If you have found an opportunity to work at home that will afford you this budget, that is wonderful. However, when starting out, it's pretty safe to say that your income can vary from month to month. New work-at-home mothers should set a goal that slightly exceeds the expected amount, and they should proceed to work until they reach that goal.
The pay for jobs worked at home can vary depending on the availability of work, the number of hours worked, and whether you are paid by the hour or per assignment. Setting a goal and sticking to it ensures that you don't fall below your means. You can select a desirable item or outing to reward yourself with when you've achieved your goal. Many women find that challenging themselves, and later enjoying the fruits of their labor, is incredibly motivating and a fantastic method of sustaining self-discipline while working at home.
Discipline is definitely something I need to work on. The hardest thing for me to put down is this darn iPad!?
Home Jobs By Mom
Haha. I never got into the iPad thing but my kids sure love it.
This is all so true! Structure is necessary to have a productive work day at home. Thanks for the tips!
Without structure, my day would end up in pieces, haha. Glad you found them useful!
Voice of Vera
Great post. I have always been slightly interested in a work from home job. I was curious to wee if I would like it. If it would suit my lifestyle and how different it would be from my current job. After reading this post, I still think I’d be interested.
Oh yeah! If you have self-discipline, then I have no doubt you would enjoy a stay at home job.
I’ve been working out of the home all year and it’s definitely been interesting trying to deal with the kids. They love attention so I’ve had to create a good schedule.
I have no doubt! Kids sure do suck a lot of time but you’ll find that sweet spot.
Working at home is never easy. When I first left my corporate job to “be my own boss” I was overwhelmed by the workload I had to do to make my home business a success. I read a lot of self help books and luckily, I was able to find a system that worked for me. I guess if you are just starting out, the best thing to have is dedicated time to do your work. Dealing with a ton of distractions won’t do you any good.
I definitely agree. I don’t think it will every be easy but it will be what it needs to be for you personally.
Trisha R (@Rosewood_Grace)
I work from home right now for a major company and it was so hard to find the discipline to stay focused at first! But since I have a regular work schedule, I’ve been able to finally get a routine down that allows me to focus on work while still taking some time to get housework done and to relax.
So glad you found your sweet spot. I bet it feels nice to have it figured out!
I work at home part time (online coaching, blogging) and yes it can be challenging to stay on track! Self discipline is a must!
It’s hard to find it sometimes! There’s so many tempting things at home!
A lot of people, including myself years ago, though being a WAHM would be SO easy! Boy was I wrong!!!
I know, right?! Definitely not easy!
This is SO hard for me to do. I sometimes set a timer to make me complete a task before I do anything else.
That’s actually a great idea! I have done something similar for myself. Whatever it takes!
Heather Riccobono (@BrieBrieBlooms)
There are so many benefits to working from home but like everything that sounds amazing, there are also many challenges too. I’ve worked from home for the past few years and had a two month break where i thought I wanted to work out of the home (turns out I very much didn’t!).
haha! Well, everyone has the thing that works for them. At least you were honest with yourself!
All great tips! And good point about the authority figure standing over you. I find time blocking helps me stay on track. But I work from home while taking care of my kids so that makes for an interesting day!
Kids always make everything a bit more interesting. Glad you get to be home with them though!
It is so important to develop some discipline while working from home. I currently work from home for my day job and since I have worked from home for years, I am use to what I need to and need not to do.
Experience definitely makes all the difference. You eventually fall into a routine.
Bri DePauw (@BriCDePauw)
These are great tips. I work outside the home, but also have an at-home job. I need to be better about a schedule!
It sounds like you’ve got a busy schedule! Those are the hardest to manage.
I’d like to work from home in the future. I am now a stay at home mom after working for years and commuting daily to work. When I want to go back to work I think being at home to do that would be ideal.
It definitely makes it much nicer when it comes to flexibility. I don’t blame you!
Great post! I know when I worked full time with kids, I seemed to be more organised. Now I work from home, this has gone out of the window!!
hahaha! It sounds like the reverse has happened to you. Kids keep us on our toes, that’s for sure!
I desperately need to find some additional income. Blogging isn’t doing it right now. I don’t have school aged children though so I can’t really work yet.
You’re definitely stuck in that tough spot. It won’t be long and they will be grown though!
I totally believe you have to create a work space that is comfortable and inviting. Your resources are interesting and I plan to dig right in and learn some more!
Glad you found them interesting! You’re right, you have to find what works for you!
I work from home and can agree with all you’ve written here. If I don’t have a specific plan for my day I seem to get a whole lot of nothing done and procrastination kicks in!
Yep! I end up scattering a few jobs out and then nothing gets finished.
Joanna @ Everyday Made Fresh
This!! My blog is my job. I work it part time, and I get part time pay from it. I’ve got to up my hours, but the fact remains I haven’t figured out how to manage me time, family time, blog time, homeschool time. It’s harder than I thought!
It’s definitely a challenge! However, it’s so rewarding!
I need to work on this for sure. I work from home but am pretty awful at it most days. Need to work on my discipline!
It can be super easy to be lax about it! You’ll get there!
Janel Berchielli (@JanelB)
I agree it’s very important to set goals and limits on yourself when you’re working from home. If you don’t organize your time your time will be wasted doing mindless things that aren’t work related .
Exactly! You’ll get yourself all scattered and then nothing gets done.