If you are self-employed and work from home, it's not uncommon to meet people who immediately envy your situation.
“It must be so great to work from home and not have to deal with colleagues and bosses throughout the day!”
“It's got to be awesome to be able to create your own schedule and do whatever you want, whenever you want!”
“You must have so much free time!”
Uh … maybe.
Anyone who works from home knows that these things aren't necessarily true. Sure, it can be great to work from home and to be your own boss. That's for certain. And in some ways, you can be flexible with your schedule and have a bit more free time. After all, you’re not commuting anywhere, unnecessary meetings are (hopefully) infrequent, and a lot of the grunt work of office life can be avoided.
Still, it can be hard to be in charge of absolutely everything when you're a work-from-home sole proprietor or business owner. So, in the following article, we hope to offer some advice. Here are 4 ways to streamline your workday and ultimately gain more flexibility and freedom.
The best way to become an efficient work-from-home business owner is to create business hours for yourself and stick to them. Figure out the hours of the day when you are most productive.
If you work best in the morning, great; stick with standard business hours. If you work best at night, choose later hours (unless, of course, those hours are prohibitive because you need to be able to contact other businesses and clients/customers during the day).
Once you have set hours in place, don't allow yourself to do any household chores or do any administrative bill paying or phone calls, etc. during these times. If the laundry piles up, let it. If there are dishes in the sink, leave them alone. If a friend calls to chit chat, tell them you'll have to call them back after work.
Creating distinct business hours will go a long way at helping you separate your work life from your personal life. But there are a few other things you should do too.
For starters, make sure you have a separate place where you do your work. If you don't have an extra room in your home that you can set aside as an office, you can create a pseudo-office in the corner of your living room or kitchen. If you live with roommates, even a section of your bedroom can work.
Next, create entirely different systems for your business. Create a separate email address, phone number (possibly even a different phone), bank account, filing system, and desktop.
Finally, consider dressing for work. Prepare for the day as you would prepare for any workday at a standard 9am-5pm job. Wear professional clothes, and do your hair. Sit up straight at your desk while working, and only allow yourself to eat during your lunch hour or a scheduled break.
Now, let’s talk about what to do within your workday schedule. In order to be as efficient as possible, set aside time to carry out communication tasks. This includes responding to emails, phone calls, and texts.
Many people like to do this once a day, at the beginning of the day, and if this works for you, great. Stick with this routine. On the other hand, you can also try dividing your day up into two sections: the morning and the afternoon (if you're using standard business hours).
In the morning, right when you “get to work,” don't respond to anything. Then, right before your lunch hour, halfway through the day, give yourself 30 minutes to respond to emails, phone calls, and texts. Naturally, keep all of these as short as possible.
After your lunch hour, don't respond to anything until about 30 minutes before you plan on ending your day. Then, do the same thing and respond to all emails, phone calls, and texts.
Creating this two-phased system can help break up the monotony of daily responding, while also streamlining your efforts.
Lastly, when it comes to the “meat” of your daily work, consider what jobs you can outsource to streamline your day even more. For most self-employed individuals, you’ll probably want to outsource your marketing and IT services.
Both of these services probably don't have to do with your actual business. For this reason, spend as little time as possible on them. Find the digital marketing agency in Los Angeles that small businesses trust, and let professionals take care of it.
Don’t let useless tasks, distractions, and wasted time keep you from growing your home business! Use the tips above to streamline your days and take your company to the next level.