Wow! March is here and I can’t remember what happened to January and February.. It is wonderful to be working, it is great to be my own boss and it is a joy to do what I love doing most…. so much so that the days fly by and the weeks merge into months.
Operating your own business does have its positive and negative points.
You are in control of your Company, you can decide what you will and what you won’t do, you can specialize in the kind of products and/or services you choose and which will bring enjoyment to your work. And you can work at home if your business can function in that environment. Of course that wouldn’t work if you have a “store front” operation or you have more employees than can be manageable in your home office.
There are negatives to home offices. I am focusing on the biggest and most challenging problem here.
Everyone I know who operates a home office has faced the challenge of work/life balance. They are either overwhelmed with work and letting their home and personal life take a back seat OR they have learned to deal with it (there are many ways – I will mention one of them here).
For instance, this week I had physiotherapy appointments to deal with an injury I sustained in a car crash in December. I also had a mandatory appointment to see my doctor. AND, I needed to make a visit to a senior for whom I have Power of Attorney (and she lives in a retirement home 1.5 hours away). I also have many commitments to many clients and this is a very busy time for me. And I have a family who needs my attention too.
I have a firm commitment to my clients and pay strict attention to timelines and getting the work done. But I could not ignore my health or my commitment to perform my Power of Attorney duties to the senior or the fact that I am the mother of a teenage daughter. Every Sunday night, I consult my coming week’s calendar in Outlook to see what timelines I have to meet and what appointments have to be attended to. I also have a “Note” in Outlook covering each week and prioritize everything on my plate.
When timelines and commitments overlap, I make adjustments. That includes notifying clients if there will be any delays. I approach the client in an honest attempt to negotiate a mutually agreeable resolution. Oftentimes the client appreciates the “heads up” notification and they are quite comfortable extending the time or pinpointing one task that needs to be completed immediately but that the others can be delayed by a few hours or a day. Sometimes, the client takes the priority over my personal commitments as I know it is mandatory to complete tasks immediately.
I have more thoughts on strategies for a Home/Life Balance that I will address in future issues of this blog. In the meantime, I would love to have input from others on how they manage their Work/Life Balance. Please feel free to comment. I would love to hear from you!
Diane L. Coville