Telecommuting From Home Doesn’t Mean Working All The Time

It’s 10:00 at night. Your eyelids feel like the Sandman is sitting on them and your body is screaming “GO TO BED!”

BUT, you want to squeeze in just a  few more minutes. Just do a “couple more things…”

Congrats. You’ve fallen into the Work-From-Home-Work-Around-The-Clock-Trap. You are SO normal.

As the title suggests, Working From Home Doesn’t Mean Working All The Time. You need to have boundaries, limits, and know when to push away from the computer!

If you don’t, your mental and physical health will suffer. I know this for a fact.

I know setting time-limits on tasks is a hard pill to swallow when your workload is staring you in the face and the end-of-the-month is looming. But in case you’ve forgotten, the main advantage of working from home is that you can spend quality time with your friends and family.

Remember why you opted to work from home?  Wasn’t “freedom” and “flexibility” part of that No-More-Working-for-The-Man-and-Punching-a-Timeclock oath?

My workspace is located in the second story of our home and there are times on a Sunday, when I know I have a butt-crack-load load of work that needs to be done, I swear my office starts calling to me like some sort of demented mermaid siren song. But as easy and tempting as it is to “run upstairs and do a few things,”  family comes first and I have to trust that I will have the time and space to get my work done during my normal business hours.

No one should be working all the time and I am pretty sure that’s a mistake many of us telecommuting pros make. Working at home calls for organization, time management and most of all discipline.

Quickie Ninja Tips 

Block it off: Mark your days or hours off on your calendar with either a Big Giant “X” or a smiley face. Resist the urge to schedule work stuff in those slots.

Set boundaries for your family: Call a family meeting and let the kids and hubby know that you need to commit to your work hours (with as few interruptions as possible) so you can have free time with them.  Post your *hours* on your office door if you need to.

Set boundaries for YOU: Work hours are work hours and off-hours are off-hours. Work hard and make the best use of your work time (stay off Facebook!) so you can rest and play with peace of mind.

Set boundaries with clients: My office hours are on my website as well as voice message so people trying to contact me know that I have a life outside of my business. If you find that a client is slowing encroaching on your *off* hours, it may be the time to have an honest conversation with them.

It’s about working smarter not harder: Whether you are brand new biz or an established one, setting your goals, boundaries, and priorities (and sticking to them) is going to be a huge key to your longevity and success. Developing the internal discipline to stay on task and get your work done takes practice and perseverance.

Cut yourself some slack during work hours: Committing to your clients/tasks/workload during your business hours does not mean sitting eight hours with your “nose to the grindstone.”  Take many “mini-breaks” and they don’t have to be long breaks either. Even going out for a walk for 15 minutes so you can refresh will make a world of difference in how well you concentrate afterward.

Ask for help when you need it: Obviously, as a virtual assistant, I am a big supporter of outsourcing. However, I am an even bigger supporter of knowing when it is time to step back and take a good honest look at what is working, what’s not and why. If you are having trouble getting your work done during your work-time you need to reevaluate your work habits, your time wasters (are you compulsively checking Gmail every two minutes?) and if you need to consider calling in the cavalry. My fellow freelancer Kathleen has created an amazing business with over 10 part-time freelancers helping her with her workload. It’s a win/win. She retains good clients but subbing out the work, takes a small cut for herself, supplies people who need work with work and frees herself up to work on bigger and more lucrative projects. BRILLIANT.

I know you need to make a living, but remember work is not everything. There are family, friends and your hobbies whom you should devote time to as well. I firmly believe that earning all money in the world is not worth sacrificing the most precious moments in your life. Not only is it ok to take a break, but it is imperative that you do so. Working on your own can be very exhausting. By not taking a break you end up doing more harm than good.

Check out this VERY good article from The Work At Home Mom called If I Don’t Work, I Don’t Get Paid – Is It Okay to Take a Break?


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43 thoughts on “Telecommuting From Home Doesn’t Mean Working All The Time

  1. I no its really hard being a work at home mom, especially when you are sinle, which I am! Balancing family and working can be tricky but I have made it work for some time now!

  2. I wouldn’t know how to find a work at home job that not only isn’t a scam, but also worthwhile pay.

  3. Spend as much time with your kids when they are young as possible. You will bring a very strong bond that will be needed when they get older.

  4. It’s so funny you said that Tara because I am exactly the same way. I have said for YEARS that direct sales (Avon, Tastefully Simple etc) was just not my thing. I have friends who are absolutely rockin direct sales, but it’s just not MY thing. Currently as a WAHM I work for other companies doing social media, blogging and writing. I don’t have to sell a thing but ME 🙂

  5. I’ve thought about being a WAHM, but my hardest vice is organization – how do you stay organized?

    1. I am in the same boat Danielle! Lucky for us, there are so many amazing free tools out there to help the “organizationally impaired” stay on track. Tools like Trello, Google Excel (any Google product, really)and Evernote and just to name a few. It’s “do-able!”

  6. I plan to be a WAHM when my son is potty trained and not so whiney! LOL

    1. Start small Amber! There’s is never a “perfect time” to get started creating the work-from-home dream. I started when my kids were little and I worked full-time. I would get up at the insanly early hour of 5 am and work on writing and blogging. It was only an hour, but it was enough to move me forward in my dreams little by little 🙂

  7. Right now I’m working outside of the home, but I used to go to school from home and I had a really hard time staying focused with it. I always found myself getting distracted by my husband or facebook!

    1. Oohhhh, I SO hear you on that one. I had to get up hella-early every day just to have that “un-interrupted time” from family. The social media distractions? WELL, I am still working on that one 😉

  8. I cannot be one. I’m not a mother, could never be, and I’m disabled.

    1. Thanks for commenting Mya. You don’t need to be a mom or make millions if you want to work on projects from home. Know what you can and can’t do and work around that.

  9. I have been working outside the home for so long I really had not considered working from home. I have been with the company I work at for 10 years.

    1. Denise, I worked in an industry for 30 years (started when I was 16) and that was outside the home. All I can say is that I had an “ah-ha” moment when I was around 44-45 years old. I just knew I wanted and needed more from life. But that’s just me and that was my dream. If I would have had a great job that I simply loved, maybe things would be different. I just knew I was ready for a new career for the second half of my life 🙂

  10. I have been thinking about I can use the extra income. Right now the only thing I do is sell our old stuff on Ebay.

    1. Tanya, that’s is exactly how I started! I’ve been an ebay seller since 2000. Love.IT. Somewhere someone may be willing to pay you for your ebay knowledge. You could create a how-to guide, teach community ed on getting started selling on ebay etc. If you love ebay, learn more about it. Become your “local expert” on the topic and you may be surprised what doors open up for you!

  11. I think more moms should consider WAHM. Its better for them and the kids!

    1. Helga thanks for visiting Franticmommu! I worked out of the home for many many years and many of my friends still do. Working at home is a beautiful thing, but not for everyone 🙂

  12. I would love to be a WAHM! Just not able to right now nor have I found the right opportunity.

  13. Thanks for the great tips, i’ve been thinking about trying to work at home since I have two young children and these really helped me consider it more! Thanks for sharing!

  14. I would love to work from home and these are great tips.

  15. I am actually a WAHM right now and have been for 3 years – I collect courthouse records online. It is great in some respects but not in others. For example, I love being able to be home for my daughter who is disabled BUT I also never get a break, and the work is 24/7 rather than something I leave at the office when I go home. So there are good parts and bad parts just make sure that if you decide to become a WAHM that you look at all the options first. It’s not always easy.

    1. Erika, that is a very interesting online job! I have heard of people doing that but never really understood it. If you ever write a blog post about it, please let me know! -Franticmommy

      1. I love working from home because I can set my own work hours, and I often work in the middle of the night.

        1. I know, right? I form my schedule around the needs of my family. This weekend was MEA and the kids were off school Thursday and Friday. I was able to shift my workload around doing fun fall activities that I may not have been able to do in past years. The flexibility is priceless 🙂

  16. I have really thoght about it but haven’t really found anything to get started with.

  17. I yet a WAHM, but later in life, yes 🙂

    jnkmailbx at

  18. I’ve thought of transitioning from sahm to wahm but worry about all the logistics. your tips could help out there.

  19. Yes, I have considered being a WAHM just recently, actually! I have my own blog that I’m building up and eventually want to quit my teaching career to have another child and stay at home.

  20. Sometimes I think getting a work-at-home job would be nice for a little extra cash, but as a homeschooler, not sure when I’d find the time LOL! But maybe when the kids are grown and I’m ready to join the workforce again …

  21. I’ve been a WAHM for a number of years. The best thing that I’ve learned (besides scheduled work hours) is to have your husband involved, or at least on board. Makes such a difference when you have that support!

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