|Are you ? Chances are you already know
that you’re really pulling “double duty”. You probably work on
your business while doing the laundry, corralling the kids, or
fixing dinner... and let’s not forget all the phone calls from
family and friends expecting you to run errands or just "go out"
for an afternoon of fun.
One of the hardest parts of working a home business is
separating your work from your family and social life. Here are
six proven ways to keep your home life running smoothly while
keeping your business on track.
1. First, create a work schedule and stick with it. It may be
tempting to answer personal calls during the day or take
business calls after-hours, but doing this actually shows that
you’re expendable – not dependable – and people will take for
granted that you’ll “always be there” for any little things that
come up. Even though family comes first, stay true to your
business hours and resist the urge to chat with friends or pick
up groceries during working hours.
2. Your friends may consider “working at home” an invitation to
chat during the day or just go out for coffee or shopping for an
afternoon. Make it clear that your business hours are just that
– for business. Leave personal calls for after-hours, and you’ll
find that your friends will gradually accept your schedule
without feeling slighted.
3. Just because you have to set up a work schedule, doesn’t mean
that you have to keep the same hours as everyone else. One of
the benefits of working for yourself is setting your own hours
to fit your most productive times. Whether you’re an early bird
or a night owl, you’ll find that you’ll get much more done when
you’re attuned to your body’s own natural rhythms. Some people
work in the morning, take a break in the afternoon when the kids
are home from school, and work again in the evening. Schedule
your work time when you feel the most productive and you’ll find
that things get done easier, faster and better than when you
were dragging along during those same rigid work hours that
everyone else has.
4. If getting after-hours business calls or work day personal
calls is a problem, it helps to have a separate business phone
line, or at least an answering machine or voice mail, to take
the incoming calls. This also gives your business a more
professional appearance to clients than if you and your family
make and receive calls from the same phone line.
5. If at all possible, try to separate your “home office” from
the rest of your home. If you don’t have the luxury of a
separate room, a room partition or screen can be just as
helpful. This also serves as a visual cue to family that you’re
working and shouldn’t be bothered.
6. Dress and act professionally while working. Some people find
it helpful to dress in casual business attire during their
working hours. This reinforces that just because you’re working
from home doesn’t make you any less of a professional. Answer
the phone with your name, or business name, and keep your
children off the phone during business hours. Also, spend money
investing in the tools you need to do your job right. A cell
phone, fax machine or even a budget computer can help turn your
home office into a true workspace.
If you follow all of these tips and stick with them, chances are
you’ll find a routine that not only makes you feel productive
and active when working your business, but also projects the
message that you mean business.
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