One of the benefits of working from home is that you don’t have to go anywhere. While this is usually a perk, it can also be a challenge.
We freelancers have the unique situation of being thrust from a highly stressful day directly into family life – with no buffer time. It’s actually something I’ve struggled with for many years. “Work Matt” and “Family Matt,” while quite similar, are often at odds with one another.
In this post, I’ll share a few tips for making a smoother transition.
Front-Load Your Day with Meetings
Just because you work from home doesn’t mean your job is a cakewalk. In fact, your daily routine is likely much more stressful than a corporate employee. Not only must you balance your clients’ expectations with your increasingly busy schedule, but you also have to find time for accounting, prospecting, and continuing education.
If you’re trying to be done working by supper, it may be wise to schedule most meetings before 4 pm. I’ve maintained this practice for many years, and it’s served me quite well. There’s nothing worse than a meeting that starts at 4:30 pm and runs until 5:29 pm. Supper is on the table, and the kids are hungry. You’re setting yourself up for a stressful end to the day – and, even worse, a poor transition into family life.
Avoid this by front-loading your day with meetings. I typically schedule meetings between 9 am and 4 pm. Outside of that window tends to creep into family time.
Budget Some “Wind Down Time”
If you worked a “normal” job, you’d have at least a 15 minute drive back home. During this time, you might listen to the radio, call a friend, or day dream (in a safe, eyes-on-the-road kind of way).
As a freelancer, your office is on the other side of the wall from your family (assuming you have an actual office). Your “commute” is actually a matter of seconds. It’s therefore vital to schedule at least 15 minutes of daily time to wind down from the day’s work. You’ve been busy for eight to ten hours. Your brain needs time to “veg out” before making a transition. Use this time to learn something new, brainstorm ideas, make a list of priorities for tomorrow, or stare off into space.
Jumping from a 500-row spreadsheet directly into a heated game of checkers with your son just isn’t possible.
Say a Prayer
I’m embarrassed to admit that prayer is only a recent addition to my end-of-the-day routine. I’ve always said a pre-work prayer, but adding the post-work prayer is another great way to make a smooth transition. Feel free to make up your own or use mine if you find it to be fitting:
“Lord, thank you for this day. I pray that my work was acceptable to you. Thank you for the opportunities you have given me. Now, help me to give my wife and children all that I have. Help me to leave all of my work here in this office. I praise your name for ever. Amen.”
Build Your Own “Commute”
In summary, you need a few minutes of transition time at the end of each day. Start investing in this time today!