Many of us dream of staying at home, answering emails in our pajamas, getting to spend more time with our families, and now it is becoming a reality. Entrepreneurship has grown tremendously in the last 10 years. When you have a home office, how do you separate the home from the office?
If you have been in business for any length of time, you know there are unexpected interruptions like the doorbell, the neighbor, the telemarketer, or your kids spilling a whole box of spaghetti. Although you can never eliminate these distractions completely, you can have a successful home business. Below are some handy tips to remember whether you are just starting out, or even if you have been in business for awhile.
1. Set a dedicated space for your office
Try to establish your office in a part of the house with a door (if a door is not an option, place it as far away from the “living space” as possible within reason).
2. Clearly inform family members when you are working
Make a sign for your family so they know when you are not to be bothered. Be creative “Busy Bee at Work” or something light-hearted so the children will not feel afraid to approach if there is a problem.
3. When you are working WORK!
Do not mix personal activities with your work time. The last thing you do each day should be plan the following day. Make a specific schedule of when you’ll be working and when you will be doing personal things. Try to keep all of your work items together to maintain the “work frame of mind”. This will help you become more productive without feeling overwhelmed and neglectful of your personal duties.
4. Do not overload yourself.
Those of us with home businesses tend to feel we must do it all. If you sign a large contract that you know will require more of your time, discuss it with your family By making your spouse/children aware of your upcoming time requirements, you should be able to create a temporary schedule with everyone helping out: dinner, wash, housework, etc.
5. You can say no.
If your work day is already full, do not accept a new job that will put you on overtime. You have probably made several contacts that are in a similar line of work. Consider creating a “referral arrangement” where you can suggest services of other providers when you can’t accept a job. This will benefit you in the reverse situation.
6. Make time for yourself.
Do not spend your free time sitting at your desk. Go out for a walk, go shopping, read a book, but do something away from the office. It is important that you not lose yourself just because you are an entrepreneur. Reward your own hard work by stepping out for an ice cream, taking the kids to the park, or anything else that will make you happy. 7. Most of all, set your goals and follow them!
Recommended Books on How to Balance Life and Work:
- Off Balance: Getting Beyond the Work-Life Balance Myth to Personal and Professional Satisfaction
- In Search of Balance: Keys to a Stable Life
- Stop Living Your Job, Start Living Your Life: 85 Simple Strategies to Achieve Work/Life Balance
- The Good Life Rules: 8 Keys to Being Your Best as Work and at Play
- Life Matters: Creating a dynamic balance of work, family, time, & money
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