Small Business Info Work from Home

The Perils and Joys of Working from Home

A Day in the Life of a Work-at-Home Business Owner

The Perils and Joys of Working from Home - The 123Print BlogThe buzzer for my clothes dryer just went off. No big deal … just an ordinary day at home, right? Well, no. Not exactly. I conduct my construction inspection business out of my home. Deep in the woods, surrounded by pine trees, a pool and a cozy front porch … as you can see, the challenges of working from home are many.

I don’t punch a clock, so why not sleep in an extra half hour?  Let the phone ring, I’ll get it shortly. Oh, and the dog needs a bath, let’s take an hour break for that. Yes, and I’ve also convinced myself that there’s no justification for getting out of my pajamas. No one will see me.

Then there’s the other extreme; I have some loose ends to tie up, so I pop into the office after dinner for an hour or two. Eleven p.m., I get a second wind and crank out some work until midnight. It’s nice when there are no phones to answer.

Let me paint a picture that will help you understand; I can see my office door from the couch, so as I look down the hallway, I am reminded that there’s always something to do for the business.

In the twelve years I’ve been working from home, I’ve learned that you need to set a schedule for yourself, keep track of important meetings, calls, etc. on a calendar, and stick to them. Just as if I was driving to the office each day, I sit myself at the desk at 7:30, dressed properly and I work! When my day is over, I close my office door and don’t return until the next work day. That room is off limits after hours. Mind you, when you own your own business, you occasionally have to burn the midnight oil, but it needs to be the exception to the rule. I might even throw a load of dishes in the dishwater to break up the day a bit and stretch, but again, an exception to the rule. Don’t want to let the camels’ nose into the tent.

Working from home can be productive, but I have had to discipline myself. I don’t have a boss breathing down my neck for deadlines and production. I only have myself and my bottom line to answer to.  If you’ll excuse me, it’s 3:30. Time to leave work. The laundry can’t fold itself.

Here are the top tips I would give for anyone working from home:

  1. Set a schedule for yourself, write it down in a planner, and only change it on rare occasions.
  2. Don’t work in your pajamas! Very tempting, I know.
  3. Don’t use your home office as a multi-purpose room.
  4. Close your office door when you are finished with work for the day and don’t go back in, except on rare occasions.
  5. If you MUST do housework, fit it into the schedule; don’t do it randomly.
  6. Ask family and friends to refrain from calling you during working hours.  People who know I work from home take liberties with this, as if I’m sitting around doing nothing.

Author: Allyson Alexander Legg, Utility Imaging Inc.

If you work from home, what other tips would you give others? Let us know in the comments below, or by connecting with us on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.

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