Have you ever had the itch?
The feeling that no matter what you’re doing, you’re always focused on the opposite.
If you’re working, you’re thinking about all the family and home tasks you should be doing, like what time soccer practice is, how you’re going to make up working so many hours to your partner, or if you’ve got enough food for dinner in the fridge.
If you’re with your family, you’re always thinking about that email you need to send, or that piece of work you’ve neglected, or that quick Skype call you need.
And it’s like an itch you can never quite scratch.
If you’re anything like the 30 work-from-home people I spoke to for this article, you’re probably feeling it right now as you’re reading this article.
You’re either neglecting your family, or your business. That’s how it feels at least.
But the truth is, it doesn’t need to be that way.
There is a way you can scratch that itch and work effectively (even with a three year old running around the kitchen), without that horrible feeling of letting your family life slip.
And, in this article, I’m going to show you how…
(See more niche research posts here)
What You’ll Learn
- How To Take The Pain Out Of Working From Home
- Why You Should Make Your Kids Work For Free (And They’ll Love It)
- Some Sappy Stuff About Family Bonding
- The Real Importance Of Getting Out Of The House
(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 1,781 profitable niches click here or the image below)
But James, You Don’t Have A Family…
If you’ve read any of my articles before, you’re going to know that I’m free, single and 23.
I have a family, but not in the “Charlie, get down from the window ledge, I’m trying to write an article!” way. Which is why I’ve not decided to write this article on my lonesome.
I’ve used a focus group of 30 work-from-homers with families who have given me insights, and solutions, that they use.
So, let’s not focus on the fact that I’m not a family man just yet (sob), and the fact that I’ve come prepared with situations that are guaranteed to help you make more of your time, and without neglecting your family.
Solution #1: Take Airplane Days To Remove Distractions
One the biggest issues of working at home is getting the space to work.
That is, people not bugging you. Kids not pestering you. And, getting some peace and quiet to actually get some work done.
Because, for some reason, when people see you have a computer set up on a piece of furniture you own, that’s a free pass to ask you stupid inane questions that could wait until later.
Or, for your kid to start feeding the dog Lego bricks.
So, this solution is to give you a little bit of extra space and remove distractions for a couple of hours.
Bryan Hassin, university professor and start up lover, came up with the idea of taking Airplane Days where you cut yourself off entirely from the world. No phone. No internet. No contact from people. It’s just like you’re sat in your airplane seat (and refuse to pay $20 for WiFi).
Pencilling these into your diary means you can allocate dedicated time to your work, a little like the pomodoro technique , and get more done.
It also takes away the worry of the usual home life stuff, because you can’t deal with that right now.
They don’t have to be full days, either.
You can do this for two or three hours at time if you’ve got a really hectic family life.
But this selfishness is important to the success of your Niche Site.
Because if you’re only ever getting to give work half your attention, you’re only going to produce half the results.
Some of my friends have incorporated this successfully by:
- Taking your kids to a two or three hour activity (and making your partner the emergency contact)
- Finding a new workplace, where nobody knows them, and settling in to work for a few hours
- Assigning one or two evenings a week as ‘work time’, or a whole Saturday or Sunday morning
You’ll have to experiment with what works for you.
But by taking some time away from your family to do quality work, you can eventually give them more of your time.
"Happen to things, don't let things happen to you" - Stephen R. Covey
Solution #2: Get Your Kids (Or Partner) Involved In Your Work
Yeah, you read that right. Don’t worry, it’s not as absurd as it sounds.
When I was a kid, my Dad was in the Navy and he could rarely get time off work.
So when I used to visit him, he’d take me onto the base. Let me take part in the courses he was running, let me go in the helicopters with him and play around with the computers in his office.
Now, your Niche site probably doesn’t have such James Bond-esque features.
But, your family understand your work is a big part of your life, and they’ll want to see the world through your eyes too.
That doesn’t mean give them the boring, mundane stuff you don’t want to do. Give them some fun and engaging tasks that help you, and don’t feel like work.
- Getting your kids to choose the images for your blog posts
- Test headlines (or in-article jokes) on your partner
- Let them help you come up with silly, crazy ideas when you’re mind mapping ideas and solutions
- Just straight up ask them for help
The ideas one is big for me in a creative niche.
I’ll often get my little cousins to suggest silly article titles, or ask them to write what they think a topic is about, just to give my imagination a kick start.
But, the main thing here, is that by incorporating your family into your work, they’ll better understand your situation and give you less crap for working.
And, if the tasks are fun enough, you might even get them coming back to ask for more.
Solution #3: Use Parkinson’s Law To Do More Work In Less Time
One of the most common issues I found with my work-at-homer’s was that they always felt like there was never enough time.
That, even without distractions for a couple of hours, they couldn’t finish all the work they need to. Which is where Parkinson’s law comes into play.
If you’re unfamiliar with Parkinson’s law , here’s a definition of it (that I wrote because I’m good at words and stuff):
The amount of time you give a task, is the amount of time it takes
Let me explain:
Parkinson’s law states* that a task will swell (or shrink) to fit the time allocated to it. So, whether you give your task six hours, or twelve, that’s how long it’s going to take. Within reason at least.
For example, your 10,000 word eBook won’t get done in one hour if you set that as your goal. But, you could realistically complete a chapter in that time.
The problem with family (and home) based working is that you tend to just let activities carry on, without a defined end point.
Your article will be completed at ‘some point’. Your emails will be sent ‘before the end of the day’. You’ll make a start on that free download ‘this afternoon’.
But by giving this work a defined end point, you can get a lot more done.
Give yourself a specific time frame, or plan out your day. And you can do that to involve only work, or to involve just family, or both.
- You will complete the first chapter of your eBook between 11am and 1pm
- You will play with Jeremy (that’s a kid’s name right?) in the park between 2pm and 3pm
- You will send Jeremy to his room and work on your second chapter between 3pm and 4pm
Joking aside, giving yourself these defined end times will push you to complete more work in a tighter period of time.
Meaning that while you might not be able to put more hours in the day, you can get more out of the ones you do have.
* There are lot of people who try to debunk Parkinson’s Law , or at least the way it’s treated in modern society. Now, I don’t claim for this method to be real science, I just claim that it works for me, for people who work at home with families, and it could work for you, too.
"I enjoy writing, I enjoy my house, my family and, more than anything I enjoy the feeling of seeing each day used to the full to actually produce something. The end."
- Michael Palin
Solution #4: Get Out Of The Goddamn House (For All Of Your Sakes)
The most common theme for all work at homers (family, or otherwise)? This…
Damn. Right. Everyone can understand this. And, it plays a big part in why people tend to neglect their families when they’re working.
Because your home environment is your work environment, the itch get’s stronger and stronger. Sadly, work tends to win this tug of war, too.
Now you might be thinking, “James, I’m always out of the house. I have kids activities, people, family, friends and everyone tugging at me all the time to get out”.
But that doesn’t count as being out of the house.
After all, you never actually switch off from work doing these.
Instead find times, ways and means to bond as a family in places that are away from work.
Okay, that was all lovey-dovey and mushy. So let me give you some theory behind it.
Firstly, it’ll help you work.
Because as researchers have found , new sights, sounds and experiences spark new synapses in the brain. Giving you a new, more creative edge in your work.
Secondly, family bonding time teaches your family how to work better together , giving you a better dynamic as the team that you are. Meaning everyone becomes more understanding of each other.
You’ll get argued with less for working, but you’ll also feel more compelled to put the laptop down and meet other family member’s needs, too.
(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 1,781 profitable niches click here or the image below)
We Are Family...
...I got all my sisters with me!
Okay, nostalgic sister-sledge based comedy aside, let's recap how you can run a niche site without neglecting your family:
- Block Out Airplane Days: Take a day (or couple of hours) where you have no phone, email, internet, or any connection to the outside world. By removing all of your distractions you can focus on getting more work done in less time, and have more time for your family outside of it.
- Get Them Involved: Get your kids, or partner, involved in your work by giving them fun tasks to do. They'll have more understanding for how much you work when they see what it is that you're actually doing.
- Take Advantage Of Parkinson's Law: Set yourself tight and specific deadlines to mentally focus on getting more work done in less time. Don't let tasks run on, give yourself a set time you need to finish, and you'll find you'll end up getting more done at a higher quality.
- Get Out Of The House: Partly, because cabin fever can be a killer. But mostly because having family bonding time can increase compassion and understanding, giving you more space to work in the long run.
Do you have any work from home (with out without family) problems?
Let me know in the comments, I just might have a solution for you...