Running a home business can be an incredibly rewarding experience. It gives you the opportunity to take control of your own life, to organize things in the way you want and to truly be your own boss. Although this flexibility is welcomed, it can also sometimes be troublesome.
Many people (including myself) can find it hard to separate life and business, as it is entirely their own project. It is hard when you have to deal with a growing business and a growing family as well. When you work from home, you will quickly realize how essential it is to have this separation. Your home business can easily become ‘your life,’ whereas often the aim is to get your life back!
Below are some strategies that can help you in achieving a balance.
Make daily plans
For me, a daily plan is essential. When I don’t make a plan, I find myself stumbling through the day and am nowhere near as productive as the days that I do have a plan.
It is a good idea to base your plans off a standard routine. Create a template of things you regularly do, such as checking emails, sending certain documents, making phone calls and dedicated breaks. Allowing this template to be flexible is key, and still will enable you to plan for everyday.
Having a plan will also help you to complete the day’s work, as well as give you a guide of what work is completed, allowing you to make a plan for next day and to follow through with any unfinished work.
Have a dedicated space where you work (and only work)
This is another essential. A space where you work and identify only with work can help throw you into the mindset that you need to complete the task at hand. Opening your house to your home business can be daunting, and having reminders scattered around the house will only work to stress you further about the things you ‘should’ be doing.
There is also something rewarding about leaving the workspace, closing the door and forgetting about it. The luxury of this only comes from a dedicated space. Both a home office and an office rental space (where you choose the times you come and go) can do wonders.
Have an exercise regime
This could be one of the most underrated luxuries of working from home. I am a strong believer that to get energy, you need to use energy.
The luxury of working from home means those things are on your own time. Starting the day with a run no longer needs to begin at 6am. You can wait until 9am to run or even some simple cardio.
Mind block? Go for a run! Feeling claustrophobic? Go for a run! This can also help you unwind at the end of the day. One of the most rewarding things is to take care of yourself, and this can help you be more productive.
An energetic body and an active mind are always better than sitting and worrying about the work to be done.
Outsource some of your tasks
When you find yourself overwhelmed with additional projects, it might be the right time to outsource some of your tasks. No matter how you want it, it’s really difficult to run a business all by yourself and try to be Superdad or Supermom at the same time (you really don’t have to be!).
Outsourcing is a good option when you are not yet ready to hire a full-time employee. With outsourcing, you can hire freelancers and assign specific tasks that are commensurate to their skills and experience. You can outsource content writing, computer programming, email marketing, social media, website design, graphic design, customer support, technical support and a lot more. While you can hire remote freelancers, you can also expect the quality of their work to vary greatly. That is why to ensure top quality freelancers, create your own freelance job listing.
Another advantage of outsourcing is that, of course, you get to spend more quality time with your family, friends and loved ones, as well as do the things you enjoy.
Prioritize your health
Work-at-home professionals and home entrepreneurs sacrifice their own health while trying to balance business and family. Too often, they end up forgetting or ignoring to look after their own needs. When they get caught up with stress, they tend to relieve some of it by smoking and drinking alcohol. If you’re exactly in this situation, avoid those bad habits — there are better and healthier ways to beat stress!
As we say, “health is wealth.” You should be reminded, time and again, that your health can be the greatest asset in everything you do. So as much as possible, take time to exercise every single day, eat a well-balanced meal, drink plenty of fluids, sleep adequately and take supplements. Devote time with the family — spending fun moments with them actually helps in reducing stress and boosting your immunity.
When your work is done, step away from it!
We are sure that almost all professionals — home entrepreneurs and traditional office employees alike — are guilty of obsessively thinking about work even if they’re away from it.
Many people would bring their laptops along while on a holiday with the family, because they know they can do their work anywhere as long as the hotel they’ll be staying has a Wi-Fi connection. Or they would check their own phones from time to time for incoming emails.
It is one of the hardest things to do as a home entrepreneur, but this is something they should not ignore. When your work is done, it’s time to shut down your computer and walk away from your office. When your office work is done for the day, you should disassociate yourself from it — not just physically, but also mentally. Resist the urge to check your phones when you’re relaxing and having fun with your family, friends and loved ones.
Or if you plan to have some time out alone, try to avoid compulsively checking your phones or tablets for any work-related messages. Just relax, have some fun and live in the moment!
Make time for the things you enjoy
As important as it is to make time for work, it’s also important to make time for the things you enjoy. This can range from a hobby, such as playing the guitar, taking up photography and spending time with your family. Making time for the things that you enjoy to do can ward off the imbalance that working from home can create.
The flexibility or working from home allows you to choose what you do and when you do them. The lack of restriction can be exactly what your family needs, because instead of putting work first, you can put them first. And after all, isn’t that what’s important?