6 Easy Steps To Keeping Business Separate From Personal Life
If you are working from home, chances are you already know that you’re really doing a ‘double shift’. You probably work on your business while doing the dishes, preparing meals or entertaining the kids. And then there’s the phone calls from customers, family and friends expecting you to spend some time chatting, run a few errands or just do lunch.
One of the the most difficult parts of running your home business is keeping your personal life separate from your work. Here are six ways that can help keep your business on track and your home running smoothly.
1. First, create a daily work schedule and stick to it. It may be tempting to answer personal calls during the day or take business calls after-hours, but doing this actually shows that you’re expendable – not dependable – and people will take for granted that you will always be available for any little thing that comes up. Even though family should come first, you need to be disciplined and keep to your business hours. Resist the urge to talk with friends or run personal errands during working hours.
2. Your friends may expect that because you are working from home, they can invite you to have a chat during the day or maybe go out for coffee or shopping for the afternoon. Make it clear that your business hours are just that – reserved for business. Leave personal calls until after-hours and you will find that your friends will gradually accept that whilst you work at home, your hours are the same as anyone who works in a normal day job.
3. Just because you have to set up a daily work routine doesn’t mean that you have to keep to the same hours as everyone else. One of the advantages of being your own boss is setting your own hours to fit your most productive times of the day. Whether you’re an early bird or you prefer to burn the midnight oil, you will find that you will get much more work completed when you are in tune with your body’s own natural rhythms. Some people prefer to work in the morning and take a break in the afternoon after the kids get home from school, and then work some more in the evening. Schedule your work hours when you are feeling the most productive and you will find that you get a lot more things done easier, faster and better than when you were plodding along during those same rigid hours that everyone else has to work to.
4. If after-hours business calls or daytime personal calls are a problem, it helps to have an entirely separate business telephone line, or at the very least an answering machine to take those incoming calls. This also gives your business a much more professional appearance to customers than if you and your family are making and receiving calls from the same telephone line.
5. If at all possible, try to keep your home office area separate from the rest of your home. If you don’t have the luxury of a den or a spare room then a partition or screen may be just as helpful. This also serves as a visual indicator to your family that you are working and shouldn’t be interrupted.
6. Dress and act professionally during your working hours. Some people find it helpful to dress in casual business clothes during those hours that are scheduled as work time. This reinforces that just because you’re working from home doesn’t make you any less professional than people who are working in a traditional office. Always answer the telephone with your name or your business name, and keep the children off the phone during business hours. Also, spend money investing in the office equipment and supplies that you need to do your job right. A mobile phone, fax machine or even a basic computer can help turn your home office into a proper, functional workspace.
If you follow all of these suggestions and stick with them, chances are you’ll find a daily routine that not only makes you feel more productive and active in your business, but also projects the message that you mean business – literally!