About 18 months ago, I wrote my first post for Work at Home Adventures – it was titled “Balancing Response” and it was a response to an post that Jess Weaver had written on finding balance in your life. I recently went back and re-read that post, and while all the things that I wrote in that post are still true, I wanted to provide some additional ideas for finding balance in your life that I’ve picked up since then.
Use a time diary –
Meg Bertini wrote an entire post about this subject in her blog Goals Happen Here. A time diary is similar to a food diary, except instead of writing down what you eat every day, you write down everything you do, and approximately how long you spend doing it, if you know that number. Then at the end of a week or a few weeks, look at your time diary and decide which activities you’re spending too much time on, and find ways to reduce the amount of time spent on those activities. You might be amazed how much time you free up just by keeping a time diary.
Consider installing a program that records how much time you spend using different websites and/or programs on your computer –
Many work from home professionals may have a hard time figuring out how much time they’re wasting online, but luckily there are programs that can track how much time you spend on different websites or using different programs on your computer. One of these programs is called RescueTime. It is a free program that runs in your system tray and keeps track of how much time you spend using different programs or websites, so you don’t have to keep track of it yourself. At the end of the day, you can go to the RescueTime website and see how much time you spent at different websites, how productive you were, and what your most productive time of day was. You may be surprised what you find out – you may find that you’re spending too much time on websites that can be time-wasters, like Facebook and Twitter (unless you use Facebook and Twitter for business purposes, of course), and not enough time on other sites that are relevant to your work. Or you may find out that you spend too much time working and not enough time on other things that are important to you, like spending time with your family, or on other hobbies or interests that you want to pursue.
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Figure out what you can do to bring more balance to your life –
After you’ve kept your time diary and/or kept track of your online time for a while, you may start to get some ideas for ways you can bring more balance to your life. For example, if you don’t use Facebook or Twitter for work purposes, you may want to go on Facebook or Twitter only after you’ve finished your work for the day, or you may decide to check Facebook or Twitter during your lunch break – whatever you think will help you balance your priorities and be more productive. You may also find areas where other people can help you – for example, are your kids old enough to take care of some of the things you’re helping them taking care of, like getting dressed or getting their breakfast in the morning? Do you have friends or family members who can help you with taking your children to their different appointments or lessons? If so, try to enlist these people to help you so that you’ll have more time to do other things that are important.
Prioritize your to-do list –
I actually touched on this in my original post. If you have something that doesn’t have to be done right away, such as a bill that’s not due until later in the week, or something that you need to call about that’s not urgent, plan to do it on a day when you’re maybe not as busy, or at a time of day when you’re not as busy. This is where a to-do list website like Good To Do, which I talked about in another recent post, can come in handy. Rather than writing down multiple to-do lists on several pieces of paper, you can simply schedule the task for a different day.
These are just a few additional ideas for ways you can find balance in your life. I would be interested to hear how you balance working at home with other responsibilities.