Making the adjustment to working at home can be more challenging than many believe. Even if you're organized, focused and motivated, there are distractions and other challenges that can get in the way of productivity. Or, it’s possible you’ll work so much that you’ll burn out and/or hurt your family relationships.
Here are some tips to making the adjustment to working at home.
Have a Work Place
It’s easier than you can imagine for work and personal life to bleed together when you work from home. The best way to focus on work is to have a space that is only for work. While many successful entrepreneurs started their business at the kitchen table or bedroom, these are not the best choices for home office set-up. It’s too easy to get distracted by dirty dishes, laundry sitting on the bed or the television. Ideally, you want an office space with a door. If you can’t manage that, use screens or other barriers to set apart office-only space. Not only will this help you focus and be productive, but it’s also a crucial aspect of taking the home office tax deduction.
Have a Plan
Do you know what you need to do the minute you sit at your desk? Surprisingly, it takes many people time to orient themselves and figure out what needs to get done. Having a plan ensures that you know what tasks you need to complete and get right to it the minute your butt hits your office chair. Because home businesses require you to wear many hats (product or service, marketing, customer support etc), be strategic in setting up your daily plan. Productivity is less about great time management and more about strategic focus.
Have a Schedule and Stick to It
Some home businesses require a set schedule as traditional work does. But the home businesses that are flexible are usually the ones that can be difficult to work unless you have a schedule. Set up regular work hours to keep you focused and on task, and avoid distractions and procrastination. Once you have your schedule, stick to it. Arrive on time and leave at the end of the workday.
Neighbors, friends, and family often don't understand that the work you do at home is as important as the work you do in an office. As a result, they'll ask you run errands, invite you to lunch and call to chat. Let them know your schedule and ask them to respect it just as they would if you were working outside the home.
Anticipate and Avoid Distraction
There are many issues you can anticipate and avoid in running your home business. Some distractions can be avoided through a separate office, schedule and setting limits, but other distractions, such as children, pets, the refrigerator, TV and a nice comfy couch perfect for napping can interrupt work. Take a look at your life and habits to identify potential distractions and put things in place to avoid them. For example, look into play groups to keep your kids busy while you work.
Have Fun and Enjoy Your Independence
Having a home business is work, but there’s nothing quite like being your own boss. The more enjoy your work and take advantage of the perks, the faster you adjust to working from home. Sometimes working at home can get tedious, and it isn’t until you talk to someone who has to commute and deal with difficult colleagues that you're reminded how lucky you are. There are many great perks to working at home that you should take advantage of including celebrating your independence, working on the deck or some other interesting place, taking a nap in the middle of the day, or working part-time.
Running a home business is the ultimate in taking control of your career, time and life. But if you've been working a traditional job for a while, it can be a challenge to make the adjustment from a job to becoming your own boss. You need to create all the external cues that go with working, such as a home office and set schedule. With that said, as long as you get your work done, you can enjoy the freedom and perks that owning a home business offers.