Many small business owners, myself included, operate their business from their home office and with their smart phones. It can be a struggle for many people, especially as they adjust to a new lifestyle if they’ve worked for other companies and now work alone. Working from home can take some time to get used to, but there are ways to ensure you can stay professional, productive and most importantly separate business from pleasure.
- Set business hours for yourself, define the hours that you will work everyday, and make sure you clock in on time.
- Wake up ahead of schedule and prepare yourself for the workday as if you were about to leave for the office.
- Stay professional. Keep your image equal to your efforts, nobody should be conducting business in their underwear. Keep a nice clean shave, professional dress and ensure you’re mind is on your work and not your comfort.
- Define your workspace. This one I’m still working on as my office space has been limited to my desk in the kitchen. Keep yourself away from distractions, define your office space and stay there when you work so you won’t be disturbed.
- Define boundaries and understanding. If your spouse stays home or you have kids, sit the family down and explain your work hours. Let them know that you’re working, and you’re not to be disturbed except for emergencies.
- Keep your workspace clean, while the 3rd bedroom may be your office, it shouldn’t double as a storage facility as well. Remember, the goal is to emulate a professional office setting, not the rec room.
- Stay focused on business. No personal calls, emails, video games, etc. If you couldn’t get away with it at the office, don’t let yourself get away with it at the home office.
- Schedule your daily projects. Start the day by telling yourself what you’ll do that day from beginning to end. Set your goals, deadlines, lunches and meetings up as you normally would.
- Take small breaks. If you’re working an eight hour shift, take a 15 minute break half way into each 4 hours to clear your mind. Schedule at least a half hour lunch into your day.
- Invest in a mini fridge or water cooler. Keep yourself hydrated while ensuring you don’t find an excuse to leave the office that might turn into a major distraction or TV break.
- End the work day. You set hours for a reason, now make sure you follow them. Don’t go back to work at 8:00 to check emails when the work day ended at 5:00. Separating business and home life after hours will help you stay focused during the work day, and will prevent you from losing your sanity and freedom.
- NO personal calls. This one fits in with a few others, but it needs to be repeated. The more you distract yourself from your work, the less work you will get done.
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