There is a direct correlation between creating a thriving home-based business and striking the proper work–home balance. Working from home requires not only that you find a balance but also that the people around you do, too. You need to learn, fairly quickly, when and how to take your work hat on and off. When you work at home, there is a fuzzy line that is too easy to cross. By setting down some ground rules, you give your work the rigor that it may lack but certainly deserves. To help you bridge the gap, consider trying the following ideas:
Create a schedule and keep to it.
Sure, you can deviate—that is half the fun. But deviating from your schedule should be the exception, not the rule. By sticking to a schedule, you signal—both to yourself and to the world—that although you are at home, you really are at work. If you take it seriously, others will, too.
When you work at home, it is too easy to make every day casual Friday. Although you certainly do not have to wear a suit to the office, you need not be a slob either. By dressing professionally, you are saying, with deeds and not just words, that your home-based business is the real deal.
Keep your office separate.
To the extent possible, your office should be your office. If it doubles as a children’s playroom or the laundry room, not only is it hard to get work done but also the delicate work–home balance will be out of whack.
When you take your home-based business seriously, when you create boundaries and parameters, others will, too, although it may take a while and some training.
People who do not work at home often quietly resent those who do, and certainly they think you have plenty of extra time on your hands when you work at home. Visions of lazy afternoons and midday naps dance in their heads.
Your ground rules are the antidote. Your rules may be that when your door is closed, no one can bother you, or that from 10 to 11 o’clock, you return phone calls and should not be disturbed. It could be that your entrepreneurial friends who also make their own schedules know that you can be bothered on Wednesday and Friday afternoons, when you take time off. The point is, it is your business, and growth will come easier when you and those around you know and follow the rules, whatever you deem them to be.
How do you keep your home and work life separate when you work from home? We'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below!