There are a lot of pluses to working at home whether you’re running a home business or working at home for someone else. You don’t have to fight traffic. You save on gas and transportation. You don’t worry as much about office politics. And some of you can even set your own hours. Working in your PJs is another plus if you’re like me. I can go on and on about all the reasons I like working from home, but there are some ground rules you need to set into place if you want it to work out the way you intend it to.
- Do Not Disturb! – You need to let your family and friends know that just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean more free time and that it doesn’t matter if you are interrupted just because you’re not at the office. They may have good intentions and want you to succeed, but people who have never worked from home do not understand that it’s still a real job or a real business and you have to run it that way, otherwise the interruptions will cause you to lose valuable time and you won’t have the success you’re working so hard to achieve. Set up boundaries the very first day you start working from home. If it’s too late for that, start today. Let everyone know that you are about to create better work habits and that they need to respect your home job or business and your time.
- You need your space! – To achieve number 1 on this list, you need to take a hard look at number 2. You need to set aside some space that doesn’t put you in the center of things at home. Make yourself a space that is easily ignored as others in your household go about their normal activities. Become invisible during work time. Setting up a private place also helps you with number 3 on my list.
- Don’t allow yourself to get distracted! – This sounds like number 1 doesn’t it? It isn’t the same thing. Rule 3 means don’t distract yourself from getting your work done at home. “There is that Soap or TV Show i like to watch. I could take a break and watch it, then get back to work.” “I hate the thought that there are dishes to do and some other chores left undone. Maybe if I go do those, it will clear my mind up so I can get some work done.” “Let me just go check on my kids and maybe take a little break now to be with them and work later, after they go to bed”. Any of these sound familiar so far? They are all excuses not to get our work done. As moms, we are so used to micromanaging the household, we forget that people will survive without us for a little while. If you want to be successful working from home, then when you’re “at work”, be at work and try not to have one side of your brain and one eye on your work while the other side of your brain and your other eye is trying to keep up with what’s going on elsewhere at home.
- Your Time is Valuable! – I know it sounds like I’m repeating myself here, but starting a home business or a home career takes an investment. A large part of that investment is the time you invest in it. How much are you worth per hour? Have you thought about that? You should. Set an hourly value on your time. let’s set the mark low for the purpose of this post. Let’s say your time is worth $25 per hour. You could clean the house, but if you were to get someone else to do it, how much would that cost? less than $25 per hour. So your time is better spent earning money and paying someone else to do those tasks. Hire a babysitter if you need to or use daycare once in awhile to make sure you can put in the time it takes to make your home business or career a success.
- Schedule Break Times – If you were working at an office, you’d have a morning break, lunch and an afternoon break. Just because you’re working from home, that doesn’t mean you don’t still need those breaks. But don’t just take them when you feel like it. Schedule them the same way they would be at the office. Otherwise you will develop bad work habits that are hard to change later.
- Get out of the house! – It’s very easy to get consumed by working from home, especially for workaholics. Make sure you plan time outside of the house, even if it’s just sitting out on the patio with friends or family to chat. My friends refer to my home office as “the cave” because I seem to rarely come out of there, so this rule is one I need to work on a bit more.
Anyway. I hope this helps you start your home business or work at home career the right way or that it helps you review your work at home habits. If you have more tips to add for other work at home moms, please add them in a comment.