With being self-employed for almost for almost three full years and a remote worker for the past five. There’s one thing I have come to stand firm on over the years. And that one thing has been to set work hours and stick to doing work within those times. That’s because working from home, especially during 2020, makes it rather easy to say “Oh, I’ll do that this weekend” or “I’ll reply after dinner.” and if you keep doing that. You could get lost in not being able to define work from personal time.
I’m a big proponent of “work will be there tomorrow”. If you work like everything needs to be done today. Chances are, you’ll just burn yourself out over time and come to resent your life. So it’s okay if some things fall through the cracks here and there that don’t need to be done today. And once you’re able to understand that everything doesn’t need to get done today. That’ll make you happier in life.
It’s one thing to get some work done that you’re personally responsible for during your evenings and weekends, but it’s another if it is constantly expected of you to respond to work communications during this time. People have families, partners and a life outside of work and to impede on this time is rather disrespectful. I also know myself well enough that I can’t be plugged in 24/7. So if you’re looking for someone to be available 24/7 to handle things or turning around a project I get files for at 8 PM on Thursday for Monday morning. I’m not your guy.
While emergencies can pop up throughout a given year. They should only happen a handful of times a year and if you are in a position where they continuously happen. You should probably take a look around and ask yourself if this is happening because of you, your employer or client. If it comes down to you are the one putting yourself in this position. Start figuring out what’s important or not and the things that are not, let them go to the next day or completely. Now if it’s your employer or client that is putting you in this position. You may want to reconsider where you are working or consider firing that client because I’ve come to learn. Most employers or clients who are like that, won’t change.
Just because you log more hours behind your computer than not. Doesn’t necessarily translate to getting more work done. Yeah, there will be times that you need to put in the work, but if you pride or find yourself on burning the midnight oil. I would challenge you to setting work hours for a week or month and compare what you produced burning the midnight oil and having set work hours. My guess would be you’ll find a lot of wasted time in the former. Yet you’ll end up with the same results with working less hours. Then there will be times you find yourself twiddling your thumbs and when you find yourself in that position. It’s okay to take a step back and go enjoy some time to yourself.