Making “Work from Home” Work For You

Having your own home-based business is really a privilege. Without morning and evening commutes there is more time for family. Just think of the money you’ll save spending less on gas, work clothes, and corporate lunches. You may think that not everyone has the right personality for it but I believe anyone can make it work. No pun intended.

As someone who has worked my own business from home for over a decade and also homeschooled until my youngest daughter graduated high school in 2014, I can say this, it is the epitome of freedom. By maintaining self-discipline, anyone can enjoy the flexibility and many other perks of working from home.

Here are a few simple tips:

Set Priorities.

Read your Bible and have your quiet time early. The most productive days I’ve ever had are when I get the day started right by handing it all over to Jesus. I let Him know I’m living for Him and all I want is to accomplish His will that day. Get dressed. Feel good about how you look and smell. You should have the items you need to do each day already on your calendar, scheduling them makes them happen, but don’t jump in until you’ve set the right tone for your day.

Get Focused

A few days a week, you may find that before you sit down to work you need to get out of the house for a few minutes. A quick run or walk may be perfect for you but for me, a quick drive in the car with some upbeat music is my start to a productive day. Do you have a letter to mail? A package to drop at a friend’s? A gallon of milk to buy? Whatever the errand, do it quickly in the morning. When I do, I am more motivated to get to work afterwards. And I’m ready for a busy day.

Set Boundaries

Other people may be your biggest problem, especially if you’re just getting your business started. Sometimes people don’t see a home-based business as a real job. Do not feel guilty that you aren’t available for them even though you are home. Friends, spouses, and older children all need to know the rules to this arrangement. You aren’t home so you can run  errands for others. Going to coffee once in awhile can be a good idea but don’t make a habit of it if you find you’re no longer getting all your work done. Sometimes it’s necessary for you to mentally see yourself as having a boss or going into the office in order to be able to say No to others.

If your brain can handle it, multi-task.

Take advantage of the fact that you’re home. You don’t have a water-cooler to stand around or a co-worker’s office to waste time in so go ahead and throw in a load of laundry or take a few minutes to load the dishwasher while you’re thinking through a problem or strategy. But only start things that can be left when you suddenly get too busy to finish, nothing that could become the priority. If you do this, when you’re done working for the day, you can relax instead of having to do those chores.

Take advantage of All the space.

While you’ll obviously need to have an office area set up away from prying fingers – I like to make sure my chair is facing a window to enjoy a view of the wildlife – you don’t have to sit there all day. You wouldn’t do that in an office building so don’t think you have to at home. Get up when you need to, walk around. Take a phone call on the porch. Enjoy your surroundings. I just went in the other room and did some quick crunches to get the blood flowing again. You know what you need to get done, trust yourself to do it.

Take Yourself Serious, Be confident and Network

Get business cards, give yourself a title, and always tell people who ask what you do with confidence. You don’t have to mention the work-from-home part until you are confident enough to say it without using the word “just”. If you take yourself serious so will others. You are a business owner. A savvy, money-conscious business owner who chooses to save money on office space. Join your local chamber of commerce and any other networking groups that interest you. Get your name out there.  Get a LinkedIn Account and a website. When you can handle the extra workload – because you will need to update these regularly –  sign your business up for other social media outlets, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter are a great start. All of these things will help you believe in yourself and your new business.

What have you found helps you work better from home?

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