Are You Suffering from Work from Home Guilt?
You’re excited about your work from home business but have you missed the whole point of why you wanted to work from home? Have you let those bad habits start to creep in? Today I’m going to try and help you solve the problem of work from home guilt.
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Yes, it’s a real thing and sometimes it can really get overwhelming but with the things that I’m going to share with you today, hopefully that feeling of guilt will become a thing of the past.
What’s the Real Reason You Want to Work from Home?
First of all, I want to give a shout out to the Horkey Handbook Team for inspiring this post as I had received a brilliant email from them that included a pretty popular parable that I want to share with you.
It’s about an ordinary fisherman from a little seaside village who was living a simple life of fishing, loving his wife, playing with his kids, drinking wine and hanging out with his friends. This was a daily and happy ritual for him.
One day he was approached by a rich businessman who said that the fisherman could do so much more for his family by fishing for longer hours, selling more, expanding the business, open up a factory and sub-offices until he became a multi-millionaire.
At every step of the businessman’s dialogue, the local fisherman asked, “how long and what then?” Until finally the businessman answered and said, and then you can retire at a little seaside village and spend time with your lovely wife, play with your kids, drink wine and hang out with your friends.
Moral of the story? You need to know the real reason why you are doing something as you probably already have what you’re trying to achieve.
The Decision to Work from Home
So you’ve made the decision to work from home maybe you’re a newbie or you’ve been doing it for a few months now but it can seem overwhelming. You’ve read all the success stories of other online business owners and you can’t wait to get to their level of 5 and 6 figures. Doing the good old comparing game. That’s a mistake, remember the story of the Tortoise and the Hare?
Anyway, you’re laser focused to make your business a success, others have high expectations and you want to prove that you can do this. Your enthusiasm is sky high and your dream is to be mortgage free, debt free with enough money put aside to finance your children’s education and to travel wherever and whenever you want, right? You also want to have a great work-life balance, spend quality time with your partner and children and chill out with your friends.
What other reasons are there for wanting to work remotely? Well, it could be that you’re no longer a fan of your 9-5 job, your position at work is uncertain due to cutbacks or you just can’t stand the long commute anymore. Does any of this sound familiar? I see you shaking your head!
These are all perfectly good reasons for wanting to start your own business and I commend you for already putting things in place. But be honest, is all that you read online about working from home the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Are there no real work from home problems?
Is Working from Home Right for You?
There are many factors to consider when making the decision to work from home. First, are you suited to working from home? Strange question but not everyone can handle working by themselves, being outside of an office environment without the physical presence of others around them, the camaraderie of work colleagues or having the self-confidence to motivate yourself or to get the work done without supervision.
So the questions you need to ask yourself are:
- Are you self-motivated?
- Can you follow instruction without supervision?
- Can you work in isolation?
- Are you organized?
- Are you willing to learn new skills?
- Are you able to dedicate your time wisely to grow your business?
But let’s talk about some of the feelings we sometimes get when working from home.
What is Work from Home Guilt?
One of the hard truths is when starting your business there is no such thing as the 4 hour work week. It’s one of those things that you hear but it’s a myth. This 4 hour work week only applies when your business is fully established, is making money and you have help like a VA or two to take the pressure off.
In the beginning, it’s all on you and because of this, you tend to put in all the hours that you can to get it off the ground. This is when the guilt starts to appear.
The people in your life and things that need to get done begin to get neglected. You’re committed to your business goals and your home life and personal relationships start to suffer.
You do notice what’s happening and try not to ignore the tell-tale signs so tell yourself that you will deal with everything in just a minute. Here are just a few of the things that start to happen:
- You don’t contact friends and family as often
- Your home starts to look untidy
- You don’t spend as much time with the kids
- Your partner notices that you’re always occupied with your business
- Preparation of meals are hurried or takeout is arranged
- You start to neglect your own health and make no time for yourself
The feeling of guilt comes when time passes you by and you realize the promises you were meant to keep with family and friends have gone and it’s like, 1am? Here are a couple of common scenarios and I’ve been through them myself:
- The children have been vying for your attention and you tell them ‘give me 10 minutes’. 2 hours later you’re still on your laptop. You start to feel guilty that you didn’t do as you said but that you’re working this hard because of them.
- The house has not been cleaned for a while and you can write your name and address on the furniture (as my mother would say) due to lack of dusting. You start to feel guilty as you know you should really get it done and it won’t really take that long but you’re in ‘the zone’ with your current work from home project.
- Time has passed and it’s nearly dinner time and you have nothing planned. You quickly grab the easiest and not the most nutritious things to make the family meal, failing that you order takeout, again.
- Your partner comes home from work and he or she wants to tell you about their day but you’re too busy typing away, checking out your notifications on Pinterest or as usual keeping an eagle eye on your Google Analytics praying for a flood of organic traffic, heck, any traffic to your online business.
- Or, instead, you ramble on about whatever FaceBook Group discussion you were in and not listen to anything your other half has to say while they have a blank look on their face not really understanding what it is you’ve really done all day.
You don’t mean for any of this to happen, it’s just that, well, this starting a business and working at home is so important to you and as soon as things settle down you’ll be able to spend more time and do more things together.
With all the long hours you are putting in as a go-getting entrepreneur the only results of your labor you’re able to show so far is $1.73 on Google Adsense.
Any of this sounds familiar? These actions of ignoring family, friends and things can lead to the negative effects of working from home. Result in resentment, impatience and possibly lead to arguments. So what can be done?
Best Ways to Get Rid of Work from Home Guilt
Here are 4 simple tips for working from home for you to follow:
One of the most important things to do when trying to get rid of the guilty feeling when working from home is to communicate. Tell your family what your plans are and tell your cheerleading friends too. For those who do not wish to understand, to compromise or to give you some time there is nothing left to explain.
If you need extra support get an online supporter in any of the Facebook/LinkedIn Groups that you are a part of. Sometimes you really just need to talk to someone who understands and can help you to prioritize.
2. Get Organized
Sounds simple enough and it is pretty easy to do. You just have to have the right mindset to start creating the right work-life balance. You now need to, as one person puts it, ‘get your act together’.
Really take this work from home business seriously and start to schedule your day hour-by-hour. Break your work up into small tasks. Depending on your remote work business, plan your time to include your daily work tasks, and your daily home tasks, including learning times and break times.
Make sure that when you start doing your tasks that you complete them if you can within the scheduled time. Always set realistic goals.
Treat your work from home business like a real business. Figure out which days will have your heaviest workload and your lightest and plan things out accordingly.
For instance, on your light days, if such a thing exists, you can set up a weekly meal plan and take the kids out, or plan a quick and easy cleaning schedule and then update all your social media. Just don’t forget that if you have children make sure to set aside quality time for them where they 100 per cent have your FULL attention.
Try to balance your time to include downtime for yourself if that even means setting aside 30 minutes for yourself to read a fictional book or take a brain break and watch something trivial for 30-45 minutes. Just something to make you relax Nothing work related.
3. Get Rid of Distractions
Nothing is worse than slipping down the rabbit hole of social media. You tell yourself I’ll have a quick look and by the time you know it an hour or two has gone by.
This is a good tip to follow. Depending on your work from home job make sure to switch off all non-essential items. FaceBook notifications, Instagram feeds, non-work related emails. And don’t forget to tell family and friends the times when you are unavailable. Don’t feel guilty, it’s not being rude, it’s being practical. You are running a business after all!
Follow your daily and weekly plan as closely as possible. Set yourself small daily goals which lead to bigger ones and tick them off at the end of the day, week, then check out where you are at the end of the month. It’s a great way to save time and see your progress as you go.
By scheduling your time this will relieve you of the stress of feeling guilty as now everything can be done in smaller chunks but the result is that things are really getting done.
4. Don’t Feel Guilty, Get Help
In point 1 the key was to communicate and sometimes this might involve communicating that you need some help. Don’t feel bad about this you’re not Wonder Woman or Superman. If others in your household can give a helping hand with some basic chores, ask them. If you discuss your plans together an understanding can be developed and household jobs can be shared. Why not set up a shared planning schedule?
5. Don’t Panic!
First of all, you have got to learn how to focus when working from home. As stated earlier, set realistic goals. Don’t compare yourself to other more established business owners who have a whole lot of zeros on their income reports. Instead, use them for inspiration.
See and learn what they did to get to where they are now and follow a process step-by- baby-step, otherwise, you will end up being like a hamster on a wheel and never catching up.
Have a switch off time just like when you used to have a 9-5 job and clocked out. If you work well in the early mornings do so but make sure you have an end time – schedule this in and stick to it. If you decide to work from 5am for 2 hours then do so before anyone wakes up, or being a night owl might be your thing. Just make sure to be super productive within the timeframe that you give yourself.
Benefits of Working from Home
I do hope you understand that working from home can be a wonderful opportunity and a great experience. It’s not all doom and gloom and it’s not all sweetness and light either. You do have to be realistic.
Set goals, set schedules and separate your working time from your home life. By following the 4 simple steps of communicating, getting organized, getting rid of distractions and not panicking can lead you to a successful guilt-free work from home business.
The benefits just like the parable above will result in you creating a profitable work from home life where you get a chance to spend quality time with family and friends and have the flexibility to work whenever and wherever you want. You do have to put some really hard work in at first but with a little organization and balance, it will be well worth it.
If you have any additional suggestions to avoid the feeling of guilt when working from home I would love to hear what they are. Otherwise please share this post with others by pinning any of the images as a bookmark. For more work from home ideas and the latest remote job opportunities sign up to the Teamworkdream Newsletter.
Related work from home posts:
- 6 Steps to Stay Motivated When Working from Home
- 3 Work-life Balance Tips for Work from Home Moms
- 13 Simple and Sane Ways to Work at Home with Kids
- Quit Your Job and Tell Family Your Working from Home