By Vishal P. Rao
With the holidays around the corner, you may find
yourself struggling to keep your home-based business and
your home life separate and running smoothly. And you're not
Operating a home-based business has many benefits as you
already know, but its main drawback is that it often causes
the line between your work and your personal life to become
permanently blurred. Unlike those individuals who work
outside the home and who know their day at the office ends
when they get in their car and start the commute home, home
business operators do not usually have a definite end to
The reverse situation is also possible: they may not have a
definite start to their day either. If you have a hard time
breaking free of your work responsibilities or if you
sometimes have trouble settling in to tackle them, these
tips will help you bring both aspects of your life into
Separate Your Office From Your Home
If your work computer is in the living room where
everyone in the family congregates, chances are you are
being bombarded by distractions. Plus, when it is time for
you to relax, you may find it difficult with the computer
right there as a constant reminder of all the work you still
need to finish and all of the communications you still need
to respond to.
The answer is to set aside an area of your home just for
work. If you have an office or an extra bedroom where you
can set up your space, then you can block out the
distractions simply by shutting the door. Also avoid putting
anything in your home office that might prevent you from
getting your work done, such as a television.
If you don't have an entire room to dedicate to your
office, move your computer and materials into a room that is
rarely used or that is normally unoccupied when you need to
be working, such as a bedroom. Once you have separated your
home from your office, you will find it easier to stay
focused on your work but also to leave your work in its
space so you can relax and enjoy the remainder of your home.
Create Specific Working Hours
One of the best things about running a home-based
business is undoubtedly the flexible schedule, but it can
also have negative consequences. On the one hand, your
schedule may be so flexible that you only work 30 minutes a
day or so hectic that you find yourself working at all hours
of the day without taking a break.
The answer is to set your own office hours. Creating your
own schedule still has benefits. For one, you can decide
what time of the day you start, so if you're not a morning
person, you don't have to get up at the break of dawn. Also,
if you prefer to stop working when your children come home
from school, you can consider that when you decide when to
stop for the day.
Another benefit is that you provide clients and customers
with a specific times when you are available to work with
them. The most important thing to remember, however, is to
set hours for yourself that you can live with. Once you
decide on a schedule, you need to stick with it long-term,
so be realistic about how long you can work without taking a
break and how much time you'll need to accomplish everything
that needs to get done.
And, no matter how much you may be tempted to keep
working, you need to stop when you say you are going to
stop. Taking a break allows you to come back refreshed and
more alert, so you can be more productive. An overworked,
overly stressed person simply is not an effective worker at
home or in an office.
Draw the Line Between Home and Work Communications
Has this ever happened to you? You and your family have
just sat down for a dinner around the table when a client
calls to talk about your current project or a customer
phones with questions about a recent purchase.
The easiest way to prevent work from interfering with your
family is to keep communications separate. Start by having a
second phone line dedicated to your work and attaching an
answering machine or voice mail to the line.
When your work day ends, you can turn on the machine and
let it handle any after-hour calls. An extra phone line also
allows you to maintain professionalism. Imagine the
embarrassment of having your young child answer the phone
when an important customer calls.
You may also want to set up a post office box for all of
your business-related mail. Not only will this prevent your
important mail from accidentally getting thrown away with
the junk, but it will also offer you and your family a level
After all, you do not want to make your home address
available to everyone; it's just not safe. If you use email
or instant messaging as part of your business
communications, you'll also want to establish separate
accounts for those as well.
The key to running a home-based business is balance.
While it may be difficult to stop working on that important
project or to concentrate on work while your preparing for
the holidays, striking that balance is essential for your
well-being, your family's security, and your business's
Vishal P. Rao is the owner of
Home Based Business Opportunities - One of Internet's
leading website dedicated to starting, managing and
marketing a home based business.
Work at Home
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