At Home, With No Work To Do: What Do I Do Now?

Today’s post was written by Taylor Ellwood. With nearly 16 years of communication training, writing, personal and spiritual transformation work, and an insatiable curiosity about life and people, Taylor believes that life is best lived when you are in touch with your passion, beliefs, and imagination. As a Whole Person Design Coach, Taylor creatively employs insightful intuition, conscious awareness, intentional action, and open, direct honesty to ignite the passion of his clients so that they can achieve their goals, let go of limiting beliefs, dissolve perceived obstacles, and empower themselves to be who they really want to be.


Last Friday, I finished my latest tech writing assignment. I’m currently in-between contracts and having just finished certification for life coaching, it’s the perfect time to launch my business off the ground. I’d already begun doing some of the work, but having more time at home provides a good opportunity to do research and get materials put together. My biggest challenge is providing myself a routine or plans to keep myself focused and on task each day.

That’s perhaps ironic, because as a life coach, one of the services I provide to my clients is helping them develop a plan of action and holding them accountable to it. You might think that if I can do that for other people, it would be just as easy to do that for myself. However, being at home provides a challenge in terms of distraction. I can sleep in, I can play video games, go for a walk, or read the latest fiction book I’ve had my eye on. All of these distractions are available, and it can be very hard to say no to them. After all, when you’re suddenly not working, you no longer have a set routine. As much as some of us may dislike working, it does provide us a structure with eight hours already blocked out to do work. When you no longer are in a work environment, those eight hours of free time now seem like a lot of time, even though it really isn’t.

So what do you do in a situation where suddenly you have lots of free time and no work routine to follow? Create your own routine or plan of action. In my case that involves blocking out specific amounts of time for specific tasks on my planner.

At the beginning of the day, right after I finish my morning stretches and meditation exercises, I open my planner up to the current day and start blocking time out for specific tasks. For instance, today I blocked out the time from 11 AM to noon to job hunt, noon to 12:30 to run errands, 12:30 to 1 PM to eat lunch and play a game. I then spent 1 PM to 4 PM working on life coaching materials; and at 4 PM, I took a break for a walk around my neighborhood before going back to work. From 4:30 PM to 7 PM I continued working on life coaching materials. From 7 PM to 8 PM I ate dinner and cleaned dishes and from 8 PM to 11:30 PM I worked on layout for a book. Finally, I block the last hour and a half of my waking day for playing more video games.

Your own routine will vary. You could, for instance, spend time learning new software, getting home repairs done, or getting exercise. What’s important however is that you create a routine for yourself and stick with it. By creating that routine you’ll provide yourself stability each day, and also focus for what you want to do while you’re not at work. The stability is especially important, because if, like me, you do contract work, you can sometimes find yourself facing periods of unemployment. By providing yourself a routine, you can keep your morale up and stay focused on not only job hunting, but also making the most of the time off that you do have.

Write your schedule down. You planner can help you stick to this schedule because it provides, not only a written record of what you need to be doing, but it also holds you accountable to that schedule. Keep it by your side, somewhere where you’ll see it. By looking at it and seeing the time that you’ve blocked off to do specific tasks, you’ll be more motivated to stick to your routine, because the planner reminds you of what you want to do. It also provides a sense of the time you want to put toward each task.

And there’s nothing as satisfying as checking off what you have accomplished at the end of the day, while realizing that you kept yourself on schedule.

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