One of the toughest things about blogging from home is being able to separate work and pleasure time. If you’re just starting out and not earning quite as much as you would like to, you might be accepting as much work as you can find, regardless of rates. Which could mean long work days. Or you maybe you’re spending extra time researching your niche or blogging it on your own until you find more clients. Either way, you’ll likely be more productive on a long-term basis if you allow yourself to recuperate each day. Otherwise, the work you love will turn into a chore and you’ll end up resentful. Now the other day I talked about time management tips for bloggers. Here are some time enjoyment tips to help you differentiate work and play time and you keep grounded.
- Have a schedule. This is easier said than done. If you’re like the typical creative person, you tend towards being a night bird — or worse, sleeping whenever. However, having a routine helps to differentiate work time from everything else: personal tasks, play, family time, etc.
- Use a signal. If you watch any of the financial TV channels, you already know that 1pm EST marks the end of the trading day in the stock market in N. America. Some of the stations play a clip of the clanging bell from Wall Street. You could do something similar, though not necessarily so loud. So if you find it easy to get engrossed in your blogging but want to keep a consistent schedule, give your self an end-of-day signal. It could be implicit, by putting up a large analog clock in front of you. Or you could set an alarm on your phone, or use Google Calendar in a Web browser. For the latter, you get a default browser popup 10 minutes before the start of a new scheduled activity. So schedule something in, even if it’s “enjoy the evening”. So if you want to stop working at 4 pm, put in a dummy (or real) event in Google Calendar that starts at 4 pm.
- Schedule non-blogging activities. Schedule real non-blogging events, even if it’s to read a book, watch TV or whatever. This helps to reinforce in your mind that your work day will end. Your workflow will adjust to to the time you have, and you might even find yourself getting more efficient.
- Involve friends and family. It’s easy for those around you, such as those you live with, to forget that just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you have leisure time all day. This can be a touchy issue. Even innocent text messages can turn into a drawn out digital conversation and break your workflow. You have to gently remind chronic interrupters who either forget or just don’t respect your work time that you are working, that you can schedule some time with them after your work day is over. In the worst-case scenario, if they won’t leave you be, turn off your phone and only check your email at scheduled times each work day. On the other hand, if they can enter your work area and disturb you, you’ll just need to learn to be more assertive about time. Send them a bill, with reminders to pay up, and see if they don’t stop. (Or leave you, depending on whom we’re talking about here.)
- Split your work day. Sometimes a straight 7am – 3pm, 8-4, or 9-5 work slot just won’t work. Hey, you’re working from home. If your client work allows it, you could always split a particular day (or every day), to take advantage of your most creative times of day but enjoy a chunk of time inbetween. Go see a movie, sit by the pool, or whatever.
Ultimately, you want to do what’s necessary to make a distinction between your work time and the rest of the day. Working somewhere other than your bedroom is a very good idea, if you can manage it. Now that my wife and I are finally in our own apartment, I’ve appropriated the guest room for my work area. I set her up a nice desk on rollers in the master bedroom. However, she’s pretty good at managing her work-at-home time, though it probably helps that she’s a film producer, not a blogger.
As a final bit of advice, I suggest that you read a great post at Smart Passive Income that offers some tips on keeping your work and life balanced and yourself healthy.