“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” – Michael Althsuler
Some great things about working for yourself are no time clock to punch, no boss to answer to and you get to do whatever you want with your time. The problem is knowing how to balance that time efficiently in a working from home environment where family members and even pets can constantly demand your attention. Remember that we started our own businesses because we wanted to do whatever we want, whenever we want. The key is setting up boundaries so others know when they are allowed to interact with you. Here are some tips:
Decide on your business hours.
Define your working hours. Post a sign on your office door when it’s ok for family members to come in and when it’s not and, except for genuine emergencies, stick to it so that everyone in the house gets on a schedule with you. Just because you are at home in front of your computer doesn’t mean you are free to fix everyone’s problems. Your clients, partners, employees and vendors also need clearly defined times when they can and cannot conduct business with you. This is your business and NO ONE cares how much of YOUR time they take up if there is a benefit in it for them. You work at home for YOU not for others.
Remember back in school when you had 20 minutes for recess? Now I’m telling you to do the same thing – take regular 10-20 minute breaks away from your computer. Get up and stretch, go for a walk around the block. Do anything you want that doesn’t involve work or computers.
Define your home office space.
It will help you compartmentalize between work time and personal time. Designate the space around your computer as “work space.” If you are lucky enough to have a spare room to devote to office space, keep the door closed. Keep a barrier between work and home. If you have just the corner of a room, make sure to keep only business related stuff there. When work time is over then spend time with your family away from the computer.
Work is important but don’t let it take over your entire life. Make the changes now so you can enjoy the time you have without a state of constant chaos.