Setting up your own home-based business or working for an organisation from your home has increasingly become an option of choice or need for many of us.
Our guest author Justin Epley has some great advice on how to ensure your home-based work efforts are a success. Justin is a freelance writer and is currently studying for a Bachelor in Accounting Online. His articles appear on various higher education blogs.
Over to you Justin…..
What does it take to work from home successfully?
Aside from a healthy dash of determination and a double dose of self-confidence, developing several smart action habits can help you join the ranks of the professionals around the world who are plying their trade and earning their living amid the comforts of home.
Set Your Most Productive Work Hours
Your ideal work hours will be based on a number of factors. You’ll need to weigh the relative importance of each to arrive at the best time to spend working each day.
These factors include:
- whether you have young children at home during the day,
- the time zone you live in relative to most of your clients,
- your time constraints based on regular commitments or contacts you must make to complete your projects and
- the time of day you do your best work.
Be creative, and don’t be afraid to experiment to find the combination that works best for you. For example, if the hours your children are in school don’t coincide with your ideal work-time, you may be able to split up your day, doing the tasks that require less inspiration during school hours and the more creative and demanding activities after the children are in bed.
Be Ruthless in Implementing the Best Practices for Your Business
Plan your workday. The more time constraints you face, the more critical it is to schedule the various activities related to your business. Use appropriate time management tools to help stay on track. Ritika Trikha has some great time management advice in 10 Must-Have Tools for Time Management.
Develop a routine. Instead of reinventing the wheel every day, decide which tasks you can schedule on an ongoing basis, and block them out on your daily and weekly calendar. You’ll be surprised how much time you save. Lynn Terry has some great advice to help you with this in her blog Using Time Blocks to Increase Productivity.
Focus your attention fully on the task at hand. Refuse to procrastinate. When you know you have a job to do, get started immediately. Start anywhere. Set a timer if necessary. Soon you’ll find yourself focused and productive. Then when you’re through, reward yourself with a break.
Handle Interruptions Appropriately and Decisively
Tell friends and family your work hours, and make sure they understand that you aren’t available for social calls during those hours. If they call while you’re working, let the answering machine or voice mail pick up. You can always
take the call (or call them right back) if it’s really important.
Learn to say no without guilt. Refuse to take on additional commitments that will cut into the time you need to spend working to make your business successful. If you overextend yourself, both your business and your well-being will suffer.
Do Everything You Can to Balance Work and Life
You will be much more productive and much more effective if you develop a clear delineation between work and life.
Try the following to rejuvenate your work life.
- Take time to rest and recharge
- Enjoy a change of scenery
- Eat a healthy diet
- Get regular exercise
- Spend time with friends and family
- Don’t over-schedule your work
When working at home, it can be tempting to throw yourself into your work to the point where other important aspects of your life become neglected. But doing this on a regular basis will take a toll on you physically, mentally, emotionally and professionally. To fulfil your potential and reach the level of success of which you are capable, you’ll need to develop the balance that helps you build stamina while avoiding burnout. Krista Conway has some great advice to help you here in Remembering the Base of your Passion and the Word “No.”
Though the above habits may at times be tough to integrate, each one is a critical component of your successful work-at-home lifestyle.