Ironically, owning a home-based business often opens you up to one of the major factors you were trying to avoid in the first place: distraction. People don’t understand just how much mental effort it takes to get “in the zone” and create a productive environment in a place as comfortable as your own home. Anything from a poorly-timed telephone call to a UPS delivery can instantly snap you out of it, ruining your efforts for the rest of the day in the process.
Luckily, you decided to start a home-based business for a reason. You’re driven. You’re passionate. You’re dedicated. These and other types of distractions are problems that you can easily overcome yourself, so long as you keep a few key things in mind.
Communication is Key
One of the biggest challenges of the freelance lifestyle is getting everyone around you on the same page. It’s natural for people to think that just because you’re home all day you have time to run errands or complete other tasks when in reality, you actually have less time. You’ve got to work HARDER when you’re in charge of your own home office, but this idea is so foreign to most people that it can cause problems on a daily basis.
As a result, one of the keys to eliminating distraction involves taking the time to sit down with the people in your life and explaining how important to you a productive working environment really is. Let them know that when you’re at home during the day, you’re actually working. Carefully and patiently explain how difficult and time consuming a distraction can be. People who don’t work for themselves don’t automatically understand this idea and you honestly can’t expect them to. Having a simple conversation is a great way to eliminate 90% of your problems in this regard.
Create a Framework For Yourself
One of the most important steps you can take as a freelancer involves taking your home office as seriously as it really is. Set guidelines for yourself and stick with them for the best results. You wouldn’t be allowed to watch SportsCenter all day in a real-world office, so don’t allow yourself the pleasure of doing so in your home. If you want to work 9:00AM to 5:00PM, that’s great – but make sure you’re actually being as productive as possible during those times. Treat working from home exactly the same way you would treat working for an employer, because at the end of the day you’re still doing exactly that – working.
Streamline Your Process
Another great way to eliminate distraction from your home-based business is to embrace technology wherever possible. Consider the following scenario: you’re working on an important job and getting ready to print an invoice to send off to a client. Sadly, you’ve hit a snag – printer is out of ink. Now you have to stop what you’re doing, get in your car, fight traffic and head to the office supply store – losing an hour or more of valuable working time in the process.
If you had been sending out invoices electronically using Viewpost, this wouldn’t be a problem. With just a few quick clicks your invoice could be instantly delivered to your client and you can move onto other things without delay.
By keeping these few basic tips in mind, you’ll soon find that owning your own home-based business is as enjoyable as you always hoped it could be with as few of the potential downsides as possible.
photo credit: Desk Thursday: In Which Floodie Gets a New Gig
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