Everyone understands priorities; organizing tasks in order of importance. However, making and sticking to priorities is hard. Life, with it’s interruptions, distractions and crises, often gets in the way. To make room for them, other important goals and tasks get set aside. I know it’s true in my own life. I’ve worked with many people over the years who want to work at home, but year after year they don’t because life gets in the way.
If you feel like you don’t have time or resources, or that life is too chaotic to fit in your goal of working at home, here are some tips to overcome those challenges.
1. Is working at home a priority? I’ve had a lot of people say to me, “Working at home would be nice.” but there’s no passion behind the statement. It’s as if it happened magically, they’d be happy, but they’re not wanting to put forth any effort. To get anything you want in life, including working from home, it needs to be important enough that you put some effort behind it. If it’s not a priority, that’s okay. You just need to know that success working at home doesn’t happen all by itself or with haphazard inconsistent effort.
2. Be the boss of your life. It’s very easy to live a life in which you feel like all you’re doing it reacting to what’s coming at you. The truth is, you’re in charge, unless you give up command. Think about this. If you’re driving on the interstate and the car in front of you is driving slow, do you stay behind it and lament on what this slow car is doing to your life? No. You turn on your signal, change lanes and go around. When you miss a turn, do you just stay straight and end up wherever the road takes you? No. You make a U-Turn and get back on track. Too often people sit behind the slow cars and don’t readjust their route when they can. Instead they blame the outside forces. Certainly outside forces can hinder and slow you down, but only you stop you. Once you believe you’re charge of this journey, it becomes much easier to make the choices and decisions you need to make to reach your goals.
3. Be aware and truthful about the choices you’re making. There’s a lot I want to accomplish that isn’t getting done. It would be easy for me to blame a lack of time, too many other projects and commitments, the weather, the economy etc. But those would only be true if I used up every millisecond of my time toward work. I don’t. I watch television. I read for pleasure. I hang out on social media. These things are not wrong or bad. In fact, down time to relax and re-energize is crucial to success. But it would be a lie to say I don’t have time, because I definitely can get more done faster than I do. Whatever you do or don’t do is a choice. Letting life happen to you and feeling out of control of it, is a choice, because you can steer your life (#2).
4. Stop making excuses. If I were to ask you why you’re not working at home yet, what would your answer be? Many people tell me they don’t have time or money. But it doesn’t take a lot of time or money to work at home. At least not a lot of time all at once. If you invested 30 minutes every day into creating your work-at-home career, in a month you’d have 15 hours. In 30 minutes you can search and send out a couple of resumes, and in 30 days that would be at least 60 resumes sent. That time accumulates and builds momentum. In 2 months you’d have 30 hours. In six months you’d have 90 hours. Think of how much you can accomplish in 90 hours, built in 30 minute daily increments. Using excuses to give yourself permission to not succeed is a choice. While things can happen that slow you down or make it hard, they only stop you if you turn them into excuses. Instead, look at them as learning moments and keep on keepin’ on.
5. Know what needs to be done. You can’t prioritize an action if you don’t know what needs to be done. That means you need to get the knowledge about how to work at home doing whatever it is you want to do and from that, create a task list of the actions you need to take.
6. Make work-at-home action a priority. Working at home doesn’t need to be your number one priority. Family and other things might have more importance than working at home. But you need to include working at home as a priority in your day. It can’t be something you’ll get to if you have the time.
7. Filter out the fluff and noise to make room for working at home. Now that working at home is important, you need to stick to your guns about honoring it. To do that, you need to move some things down the priority list. I always start by trying to get rid of the stuff I don’t like doing (if possible). For example, I don’t mind a little bit of mess in my house and I hate chores. I’m happy to let that go in favor of working on something I really want. Or, if you’re like many people, myself included, you need to pay attention to the time you fritter away and fit working in home in that. Did you really want to watch that TV show or are you watching it because it happened follow the one you just watched? Or worse, are you flipping the channels having trouble finding something to watch? That time should be spent working on your goal. Remember you’re in charge. When you’re drawn into a TV show (or other activity) that’s a choice you’re making that says watching what happens on TV is more important than working from home.
8. Keep a record. Working at home can take time. Often it can feel like your efforts aren’t generating any results, which can get discouraging and eventually, you stop taking action. The best way to feel like you’re making progress is to track what you’ve done. Wrote a resume? Check. Bought a domain name? Check. Beyond checking off completed tasks, you can keep notes or even a journal of your journey. You’ll be surprise at how much you’ve accomplished in a short time if you keep track and review your records.
So now that you’ve made working at home a priority, what is the one thing you’ll do today to move yourself closer to your goal?
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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