Anyone who is considering working at home has to recognize a reality: In the office, the whole workplace conspires to help you do your work. When you’re at home, it is just the opposite. Everything conspires against you. All of a sudden everyone wants a bit of your time, taking you away from your tasks. Family and friends—and sometimes you yourself—find it hard to take your work plans seriously.
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To minimize conflicts, it is wise to sit down with the family and make decisions about the time that will be needed to carry out work and the time remaining for family needs. Declaring unilaterally that you will work from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. can cause a lot of conflict.
Working at home also demands that the parent adjust his or her own work style. Distraction and procrastination, if problems for you, will need to be addressed if you are to work at home. Identify your optimum work style. For instance, you may work best in short bursts of activity, whereas trying for long sustained work goes against your nature. Under these circumstances, you might want to organize your work day to have numerous subprojects so you can shift from one task of thirty minutes to another of twenty-five minutes and so on through the day. Over time, the full projects will be completed.
An alternative approach is to organize the workload by day. So you would immerse yourself in work one day, working straight through lunch to complete a major project, and then, on another day, you could visit clients, make phone calls and send off e-mails, organize files, and complete all those other small tasks associated with work.