Setting Realistic Expectations

I used to think that it was just an odd coincidence that no matter how the beginning of my evening goes, I never seem to sit down to do my work until eleven o’clock at night. This pattern has become so predictable that I have incorporated the “nothing really gets done until eleven” principle into my work schedule, and I use it to schedule my work time. Sometimes I wonder whether that is a wise thing to do, whether I should be finding a way to sit down to work earlier so that I can get more done.

Whenever I find myself questioning whether I should base my work schedule on what seems like such a random thing, I remind myself that it is in fact the right thing to do if you consider that one of the most important responsibilities of the home – based professional is having realistic expectations of yourself and others. If I chose to ignore the reality of what goes on in my home and created a work load and schedule that required me to sit down at ten or even ten thirty each night, I could get myself into real trouble. If I were to have trouble getting down to business at the right time each night, I would end up going to bed very, very late on the nights that I got started late. Since my kids wake up at about eight every morning, I could end up getting very little sleep, which could eventually render me rather crabby and ineffective by day and by night.

When I acknowledge the reality of life at my house, I take into account the fact that the kids fall asleep anywhere between eight on a good night and nine thirty on a not so good night. I also account for the fact that I need between thirty and sixty minutes to just relax and do whatever I feel like doing (even if it is nothing at all) after the kids go to bed. I have found that if I try to take away that sliver of “me” time, I just get cranky and resentful because I really don’t get much “me” time on any sort of regular basis. Another thing that factors in to my evening activities is the fact that my work area is at the table in the living room. I don’t want to work while looking at a mess, so I do a quick pick – up and wash some dishes before I sit down to work. Even though all of those things take different amounts of time each night and on some nights I may have to skip a thing or two, it always ends up that I get started on my work at eleven.

Planning your work based upon the realities in your life doesn’t just make good sense, it makes good business sense too. How does your home life affect your home – based work schedule?

Photo by matiasromero on morguefile.com.

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