We live in an uncertain time. And I know a lot of you might be worried about losing your job in the midst of all this chaos. So in some ways, this blog may not have the most appropriate timing.
But on the other hand, I know that there are hundreds—nope—THOUSANDS of you out there right now working from home and thinking about how much EASIER it is than being stuck in a gopher hole in the middle of a windowless expanse called an office. How much LIGHTER you feel without your boss popping in every five minutes to critique your work. How much HAPPIER you are typing away at a computer in your home office or at the kitchen table with your kids nearby watching Frozen II for the thirtythousandth time.
And I know that if I were still in this job I'm about to describe to you, I'd be in that same place right with you. Wondering why I stay. But feeling obligated because money.
I don't want that for you.
I want better for you.
So I'll share my story in the hopes that it inspires you this week.
"I guess that's something I'd just do for free if someone asked."
These words were uttered by a close girlfriend of mine over coffee a few weeks ago. We were talking through some business ideas (because she wants to start one) and I was throwing out a variety of ways she could earn once she had built up a following.
Only she wanted to do EVERYTHING BIG THAT I WAS SUGGESTING FOR FREE.
Listen, sis. Money is a tough subject for a lot of us. As women, we've been taught that money is dirty. That we should feel bad asking for more money, awful for having money, and downright diabolical for spending it. That "things" should not make us happy and therefore money should not be important.
When you find yourself working from home for a few days, you may have a thought creep up in your head: "I like this." But it's not just the fact that you can fill out your data report while Netflix plays in the background. Nor is it all dependent on the fact that you can wear sweatshirts and talk to your dog all day—though those may be heavily weighed factors.
No. For you it might be the mere revelation that you've always known there was something better for you than a windowless office and a micromanaging boss named Ted whose only mission is to crush your work soul so that you don't ever feel good enough about yourself to take a different career path.
For you it might be that you're finally seeing the light. What could be.
Let's talk block schedules. So a typical day for me is spent running after a 17-month old and running a full-time, 6-figure earning business.
Do I sound crazy? Yes. Did I stutter? I did not. And I don't put "6 figures" in there to sound froo-froo. I do it so you know that "working from home" doesn't actually mean "training ferrets for the circus." It's a legit business that requires a lot of TLC. Naturally, so does raising a semi-decent human being. Which brings us full circle—BLOCK SCHEDULES!
You may have heard of these. Essentially it's a way of breaking out your day so that every minute is accounted for. And I can understand how—for some of you—that may sound worse than nails on a chalkboard. For an over achieving organized freak of nature like me block schedules are an entire day served on a golden platter.
And believe me when I say that this type of planning will absolutely improve whatever unorganized disaster you're currently calling life. Which includes:
I probably missed a few scenarios but you get the idea. Block scheduling works because it takes away time fillers like scrolling social media. It also helps eliminate procrastination because...well, frankly...you simply won't have the time.
I will say block scheduling works extremely well when you're incredibly honest with yourself about your abilities. For instance, I know that unless my workout is first thing in the morning—it doesn't get done. I know that my first work-related tasks of the day need to be my biggest challenges of the day because my brain is at peak performance at 6 am.
So what I'm saying is, it may take you some time to find a block schedule that works for you. I have about 6 of them that I rotate through on any given day. Mine are planned out in 15 minute increments—because that's about the amount of time my daughter will stay occupied by an activity. If you have older kids, you can do 30 minute blocks. I've found hour long blocks to be too large and, in most instances, have fallen off the productivity wagon so to speak. The more nit-picky you can get with your time blocks, the more success you'll have—especially if you have a limited attention span.
Don't be afraid to make a block schedule for each family member. Mine is combined with my daughter's at the moment. But when she's older and/or a little more independent, she gets her own block schedule tailored to her age.
Please download the sample I whipped together in Excel. Fancy, right? This is a particularly good one if you find yourself working from home with littles as I know so many mamas are right now.
A final note before you go: Set yourself up for success. Don't be afraid to put in a 15 minute block for social media. Or watching television. Or stretching. Or getting things done around the house. Block scheduling only works when you can be realistic with yourself. So set achievable expectations—and get a little more ballsy* as you see positive results.
Alright, and one more final note. This is the final, final note. Be flexible. Sometimes you can have a whole beautiful schedule laid out in intricate 15-minute sequences and the whole thing gets blown to hell when a crisis arises smack dab in the middle of what was supposed to be your snack break. Mmm. Snickers.
That's okay. Life happens. You are human. Allow yourself grace and move forward with your day as best you can—knowing that tomorrow you can start again.
*Is ballsy a word? It doesn't look right. Or sound correct. Ballsy. Ballsy. Ballsy.