Several years ago, Shamanic teacher Don Miguel Ruiz introduced the world to his book “The Four Agreements”. In it, he presented what appeared to be four simple statements that he said would improve our lives and set us free from many of the stresses that plagued our daily experiences at work, home and wherever else we might be.
It seemed too simple to be true. But…for many people, simply adopting these four agreements transformed their lives. His book proved that simple changes can make a huge difference.
While I have no illusions about being the next Ruiz, I do think there are four more simple agreements that can make our lives as WAHMs more successful and less stressful. So here are four agreements that really work for Work at Home Moms.
- Understand your Talents and Goals
- Understand the Job
- Define a workspace
- Stick to your hours
Understand your talents and goals
Too many people jump into jobs without understanding where their talents and interests lie. In a large workplace, that might work out just fine in the long run, because you’d be able to see other jobs and other paths everyday. And that might help you find the right career. But if you’re working remotely, far from other inspiration, you might end up staying with a career that doesn’t fit your talents. And while that might pay some bills, it won’t provide you with a chance to grow and thrive.
That’s why taking the time to understand where your abilities lie, what inspires you and what short- and long-term goals you have is critical to being successful as a WAHM. You can use tools like journaling, vocational and career aptitude tests or time spent with a career counselor to identify your strengths. Writing down goals will help you clarify why you’re working, and what you will see as success.
Understand the job
Before you accept a remote position, take the time to really clarify what’s involved. Don’t agree to accept any position until you’re clear on:
- Amount of work
- Type of work
- Pay (amount, timeframe, W-2 versus 1099, potential for increases)
- Costs (materials? equipment? travel? training?)
- Time commitment (schedules?)
- Workload (realistic for pay?)
- Duration (short term? long term?)
Not getting clear on any of these could result in you working for only a small hourly wage, paying out more than you earn or waiting for weeks (or even months) for your paycheck. No matter how great the job sounds, making an agreement with yourself that you will check out all the details before you say “Yes” will save you grief and frustration down the road.
Define a Workspace
Work done from home is just as real as work done in an office building. That’s why it’s important to designate an area of your house or apartment as your work area. It can be as formal as a separate room with a desk, cabinets and shelves…and a door. Or it can be as a simple as a corner of the family room or dining room where your desk can sit, and your work can remain safe.
So why is this agreement so important? It’s really quite simple. If you take your work seriously enough to designate a specific space for it, you’re telling your family (and yourself) that it’s real. And it matters.
That acknowledgement is will affect the quality of your work and your long term success. Sure, you can still grab a file to sort through while you catch your favorite TV show, or take advatange of the patio on a lovely spring morning. But having a designated office is what reminds you that your work is not just a passing whim. It’s real and it counts.
Stick to your hours
One of the biggest issues facing remote and freelance employees is the hours they work. Without the structure of a start and stop time, it’s all too easy to let work bleed over into family or personal time. I know this has been the biggest challenge for me. It’s so easy to reach for this laptop after supper. Or do some writing on the weekend. And before you know it, two or three items have filled up hours of what should have been down time or family time.
That’s why making an agreement with yourself to set times for work is one of the most critical agreements you can make. And then set times for family. And times foryourself. And for all kinds of other important things. Then stick to it!
Together, these four simple promises to yourself can work wonders in your work and home life. Give it a try. You just might love the WAH world more than ever!