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How to Overcome Work at Home Roadblocks

August 8th, 2008

work-at-home-cat-writing.jpgWorking from home offers many important advantages such as being closer to family more during the day and having the freedom to set your own hours. But with the good side of working from home also comes some obstacles. This article by April Aragam describes four common roadblocks that many writers experience while working from home and how you might overcome them.

1. Feeling Isolated

Even though writing can be a lonely career, it’s important to know where you can turn when you need some human contact. Since most of us write from home, the Internet is a great place to talk to others. You can choose from forums, blogs, chat rooms, e-mail, social media sites, and even instant messaging services. You might prefer one over the rest or you might like to do a little of each. Sometimes chatting to people in “real time” makes you feel less alone. If you’re someone who needs to get out of the house more you might schedule a weekly afternoon with a friend where you go out for lunch and a walk. And while you’re working at home, make it a habit to open up the curtains.

2. Phone calls and visits

Yes, it does seem like if you were feeling isolated that getting phone calls and visits from family and friends would be a saviour. Unfortunately, it’s not. Often, working from home gives the people in our lives the impression that we’re able to take a break whenever we want because we can “catch up later.” Of course we know that’s not true. We have other responsibilities that require our attention. If there is someone in your life who seems to call during your work hours for more than a few minutes at a time, a neighbour who drops by without notice, or someone who assumes that you can baby-sit because you’re at home anyway, you need to take control. You need to be able to say “no.” If you do not get calls that are work-related, don’t answer the phone while you’re working at all. If you do get work-related phone calls, invest in a call display. Although you want to have human contact, you don’t want others to take advantage of you.

3. Chores and Errands

It is so easy to become distracted by things that have to be done around the home. We sit down to write an article and look over and see a scuff mark on the floor. Better get it right away. Then we pass the kitchen sink where the breakfast dishes sit, practically begging to be done. At least it seems that way when there’s writing to be done. Set aside specific times where you will do house chores. Knowing that you will get them done will take that off your mind so that you can write. It also helps to have your work area away from these distractions if at all possible. As the saying goes, out of sight, out of mind.

4. Time Management

Tying in everything discussed above, time management is a must. If you begin your day without a plan, chances are you won’t get as much done as you probably could. Try to create a to-do list the night before of everything you have to do. This will keep you on track. Instead of writing every little thing that you would like to accomplish (our lists would all be a mile long) write the things that you have to do (writing and non-writing). If it helps you to assign time limits or specific times for each activity, do that. Whatever helps you to stay on track and get things done is what you should use. Learn to prioritize your life, the things you do and even the people you spend time with. Unfortunately, we can’t do it all. Simply because someone asks you to do something, this does not obligate you to doing it. Set limits and goals for yourself and you’ll surely succeed.

One Response to “How to Overcome Work at Home Roadblocks”

  1. comment number 1 by: goofblogger makes money online

    As you had mentioned, a short to-do list is important. It gives you a sense of direction. Also, your list should be prioritized. The most important items on the top in case you run out of time due to unforeseen interruptions.

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