As a homeworker, I know how difficult it can be to remain productive when the house is full of tempting distractions. Over the years, I’ve learned how to resist the urge when no one is looking over you, and giving in just means wasting precious time and money.
I tend to combine my time working on site with clients when I have a meaty project, but when I need to be ‘at my desk’ at home, I’ve managed to put a few disciplines in place to combat wasting time.
Find an appropriate workspace
Preferably a dedicated ‘office space’ – ideally a spare room or even a converted shed at the end of the garden that you can close the door at the end of the day. This is not always possible if space is an issue. A dedicated area of a room is just as effective, as long as you make sure you delineate your time between work and recreation. Here are some real homeworkers who have set up shop in a bedroom (me included) in WorkFromHomeWisdom.com
Keep to a definite business schedule
When working within an organization, your working hours are pretty much set in stone – 9am-5.30pm, 5 days a week – you’re contractually obliged to keep within these times (depending on what you do). Working from home gives you much more flexibility, but it’s all too easy to take advantage of your freedom and discipline goes out of the window.
Try and stick to a schedule. I make sure I set my alarm every morning and arrive at my desk to start planning my day by 9.30 when I’m working on a project from home. It’s also a good idea to let your friends and family know your schedule to avoid those impromptu visits.
Never work in your Pyjamas!
I’ve read many articles over the years where small business homeworkers relish the opportunity to be able to fall out of bed and start working, without having to get dressed in a ‘business suit’. Don’t do it! Imagine the embarrassment when a client calls via Skype and you’re sitting there in your nightwear! Being smartly dressed gives you a sense of professionalism and creates a good impression and, when the client calls for an urgent face-to-face meeting, you’re ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Stick to a routine
It’s all about managing your time and workload. Manage your day carefully around work and family commitments. Being a parent, the usual domestic chores and school run is going to play an important part of your working life and it’s essential to stick to a strict routine to remain productive.
With the advent of smartphones and tablets, it’s always tempting to overdo things. If you’re in your ‘non-work’ mode and an important email pings through, it’s too tempting to jump on it immediately, which can be very distracting for both you and your family.
Get out and network
Meeting people face-to-face will make your working life much more bearable. Working from home can be very isolating whether you live alone or you’re juggling work and family. Taking advantage of the many business networking events will allow you to integrate with other human beings and give you an opportunity of making new business contacts with a view to gaining new customers.
There are lots of organisations out there that regularly run business networking and training events to take advantage of. Whether you want to be locked in and pay an annual fee or just drop in for a coffee and a chat, here’s a list of some of the current groups in Brighton & Sussex.
If you’d like some help to manage your marketing planning Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 to set up an initial chat over a coffee!