Yes, working from home has its advantages: no more commuting in heavy morning/evening traffic, the ability to work in PJ’s with a cup of coffee while participating in conference calls or meetings with clients via the telephone or online, lots of flexibility, no fear of requesting days off or calling in sick & wondering about the boss’ reaction, having small kids at home as oppose to day care or school age kids not having to attend before or after school care. The pros are endless; I know that you have many more advantages that you can add to the list.
However, there are as many disadvantages to working from home as well: numerous distractions that interrupt work flow, surprise visits, tending to small kids at home, household chores, temptation to stay in bed, take a long nap or watch television, lack of socialization, and feelings of isolation & decreased motivation. Unfortunately, you may have a few more cons to add to the list as well.
There are five strategies that you can implement that will help your work at home business disadvantages not interfere with the wonderful advantages of working from home.
1. Set Office Hours – Set office hours and share the hours with family, friends and associates. Let them know that you are working during those hours and you should only be distracted if there is an emergency. Keep your office door closed and hang a do not disturb sign on your door.
2. Block Time for Work, Personal & Household Activities – Block time on your calendar to complete tasks for all areas of your life, so you can set aside time to complete everything you need to do for that day. Block time for any tasks that must be done on that day which includes business related tasks as well as personal and household such as cooking, running errands and doctor’s appointments. If a task requires one hour to complete, you should not do anything within that hour but that specific task – give that task your complete focus during the hour. Use a time clock or stop watch to keep track of the allotted time and it will also serve as a reminder to stop and move on to the next task. This site is great when you are working near on own your computer: Free Online Stop Watch.
3. Take Breaks – Take breaks to relax during your work day. At least two 15 minute breaks to meditate will help you regain focus and become refreshed. Breaks are a great time to reflect on why you decided to become a mompreneur. Your “why” should motivate you when you return back to work. Make sure to take lunch breaks away from your desk to unwind. Sometimes we become so busy, we forget to take care of ourselves.
4. Automate Activities – Look at your daily activities and decide which of them can you automate. For example, if you post in social media to attract clients or customers, use an automated system to schedule posts for the day or week. HootSuite is a free tool to automate your social media. Create templates for repeated tasks and projects. Automation will allow your business to continue when you’re not available and free up time in your schedule.
5. Maintain a Flexible Schedule – You don’t have to keep a rigid 9 to 5 schedule (remember that’s the advantage of working from home). Complete tasks at your peak performance time of day. Leave unscheduled time on your calendar/planner for emergencies and use that time when you need to get back on track. If you have small kids at home during your work day, you may have to stop working to tend to their needs and return back to work once they are napping or at night once they go to sleep. Increasing flexibility in your schedule will reduce your stress levels.
The use of these five strategies in your home office will reduce stress, create self-discipline and help you to survive the cons of working form home.