When you run a business from home, it can sometimes be difficult to shield yourself from the distractions your home provides. There’s laundry begging to be folded. A DVR queue full of sitcoms to watch. Sometimes it seems like the cards are stacked against you for getting any real work done!
Here are some strategies that successful work-at-home entrepreneurs employ to ensure that they stay on task.
# 1. Carve out a workspace
Sometimes it’s not possible to designate an entire room to your home office, but you should at least find a closet or partition off a room to create a space just for work. If you can manage to get a room with a door, it will be that much easier to close it off to distractions on the other side.
# 2. Consider day care
Many parents I know say having the kids at home only serves as a deterrent from getting any real work done. There’s no shame in sending your kids to day care, even if you work at home. You can’t do either thing well (be a great parent or a successful entrepreneur) if you’re dividing yourself between the two.
# 3. Save the chores for after hours
If you worked in an off-site office, you wouldn’t be worried about washing clothes mid-morning, so don’t let it be a priority when you work from home. Train yourself to set aside those nagging chores until you’re done with your day’s work. Let your spouse know not to expect you to run to the store during the day just because you’re at home.
# 4. Have honest conversations with your family
The only way you will succeed in running a business from home is if you have the support of your family. That means explaining to your children that you won’t be available to play with them during the day, and that if your office door is closed, they should not come in. Your partner, too, should have a clear understanding of what to expect from you. Just like him, you’ll be tired after a day of work, and may not feel like cooking any more than he does.
# 5. Go for a walk
All distractions aside, there are plenty of perks to working from home, and you should take advantage of them. When you’re suffering from a creative block, take a trot around the physical block to clear your head. You’ll find that when you sit back down in your office, you’ll find that creativity flowing once again.
# 6. Work when it makes sense
So many of us adhere strictly to the 9-to-5 mentality, but if you work from home in an industry where you don’t necessarily need to work in that timeframe, such as in writing or design, you might find yourself more productive at other times. For example, if your priority is staying home with your children, you probably don’t get much done while they’re bouncing around. Consider working when they nap, or after they go to bed. You can easily rack up 8 hours or more of work a day in small chunks of time.
# 7. Be done with work when you’re done
Just because your office is down the hall doesn’t mean you should check your email after the kids go to bed or get work done on the weekends. It’s an appealing lure (“I’ll just put in 15 minutes…”) but a dangerous one. It’s important to draw boundaries. Decide when you shut down for the day, and do so. Focus on your family (and get that laundry finally taken care of) and leave work for tomorrow.
Do you have any suggestions for working from home?
Editor’s note: This was originally written by Nellie Akalp for Tweak Your Biz.