The idea of working from home, whether it’s for a company or for you, is a huge and attractive possibility for many people. The thought of having that freedom to create your income from the comfort of your living space is a huge draw. Set your own hours, make your own schedule and set your own pace sounds like the easiest and best thing in the world. It is the best thing in the world, but it sure isn’t the easiest.
Work from home failure rates are very high because most people who try to create this life lack the discipline required to be successful. Your home is one of the most distracting places for you to be and then add in the need to be productive on something other than domestic issues is a recipe for failure.
There’s always laundry in the hamper or dirty dishes in the sink, groceries to be picked up or supper needing preparation or the other zillion things that occupy your domestic routine. You have to be absolutely focused on the work or you will not last long in this endeavor.
Working From Home Time Management
Time management is one of the most important skills that a work from home person needs to master. Sitting in your dining room working on a project is a great place to get distracted and possibly blow a deadline. Setting a regular, daily work schedule can help you avoid the possibility of missing your deliverability requirements. One great way to keep yourself on schedule is to create a “time card” that you fill out every day.
This exercise gives your brain a measure of accountability for your working hours and helps you divide “work time” from “home time.” Creating a detailed time card can also be a fantastic tool for your billing process.
Working in your pajamas sounds like the best thing in the world, but it does have a major drawback. Your pajamas are what you sleep in and your brain connects them to sleep time, not production time. It’s important to get “ready” for work every morning. Get up, grab a quick shower and put on your work clothes to start your day. You don’t need to sit at your home desk in full, formal business attire.
Get a collection of comfortable clothes to wear while you work at home. Buy clothes that you’d feel comfortable in wearing at the grocery store or greeting the UPS driver dropping off a package and designate them as your “work” clothes.
Designate a work space in your home and only use it for work. Having a place in your home that is only used for the work you do is an important tool in helping you get in to the “work” mode every morning. It’s the same as getting up and going to the office, only you don’t have to use your vehicle to get there. If possible, create your work space in a room with a door that can be closed to help minimize household distractions.
If you can afford to, get a separate phone line for business to help separate personal and professional calls. This is a really important item if you are in business for yourself but can also be very helpful if you are a remote employee. You will have a dedicated line to your business and you won’t have to worry about another family member intercepting your important calls.
Set up income goals and plan your work to meet them. Working to cover your monthly budget is a great starting point, but you don’t want to stagnate financially by just working to the budget. Start with a set of short term goals and a set of long term goals and work as much as you can each and every work day.
Stay visible within your particular profession and don’t be reluctant to get out of your home office and network. Take a look at the work you do and imagine a way that you could offer it to local businesses. Get active in your local business groups and participate in the activities that they promote. Connecting with other business professionals in these situations will help you maintain visibility as a provider of a service or product and also help you maintain a business mindset while you are working in your home.
Take whatever steps you can to help you work productively from your home. Set specific business hours and post them if you need to remind yourself or your family. Keep a detailed time sheet with necessary information on what projects that you had time working. Anything you can do to help yourself focus on your work will help you make your working from home experience successful.