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One common issue facing at-home business owners is the difficulty of learning to separate their work and personal lives. We address this issue here.
Do You Own a Home-Based Business?
There are now more than 30 million small companies in the United States. Moreover, home-based businesses account for half of these. Additionally, almost 70 percent of today’s startup owners launch and operate their businesses in the home.
There are some major advantages that make home-based businesses so popular. Most people love the idea of eliminating their commute and working from the comfort of their own home, for example. What’s more, many enjoy the increased work independence, financial gain, and personal satisfaction.
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While the advantages are clear, one common issue facing at-home business owners is the difficulty of keeping their work and personal lives separated. If you are running a business from your home, or thinking about launching one, consider the following strategies for achieving a happy balance between work and play.
Create a Separate Work Space
When you run a business from your home, you also have the flexibility of working anywhere. Having options is great, but it can cause problems. If you allow yourself to work from the local coffee shop or park, you may find that your productivity starts to suffer. Similarly, allowing yourself to bounce from room to room in your home is not ideal for focused work and optimal output.
Instead, increase your chances for success by establishing a set work space inside your home that is separate from the family’s living space. It doesn’t have to be large and stately as long as it gives you the privacy and quiet you need to stay focused and productive.
This offers the additional benefit of reducing any possible distractions. It’s easy to be tempted by personal obligations when they are right in front of you. If you can see the sink of dirty dishes or hear your teenagers discussing the latest news, it’s impossible not to get sidetracked.
Establish a Work Schedule
One of the best ways to keep your work and personal lives separate is to view your at-home business like you would a job in another location. Most jobs entail a start time and an end time. Mimicking these kinds of boundaries will help you remain disciplined and productive during office hours. Having routine office hours also helps your family because your schedule is predictable, and they will know what to expect.
Not maintaining a set schedule can lead to unfortunate results. For example, you don’t want to set up a scenario where you start your workday whenever you feel like it. It’s easier to hit the snooze button when nobody is watching. However, by allowing your whims to determine your schedule, there is a chance that your lack of discipline will seriously impair the quality of your work.
Another common scenario is being overly consumed by work. When project deadlines loom or emails await answers, it’s tempting to work beyond normal business hours. If you don’t want work responsibilities pull you into slogging around the clock all day every day, you need to establish a firm end to your workday. In this way, you will maintain separate work and home lives.
Limit the Interruptions
In addition to having discipline about the beginning and end of your business day, it’s also important to make sure personal distractions don’t derail your work in the middle of the day. When you allow yourself the luxury of starting and stopping at will, you hamper your productivity. Distractions can easily take over, and you will get far less work accomplished. This often leads to your workday stretching out and infringing on time that should have been carved out for your family.
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Get a Business Number to Keep Your Work and Home Lives Separate
Setting boundaries on your time becomes more difficult if clients can reach you on your personal phone line. With only one phone line, you have to choose between either potentially receiving business calls outside of office hours or turning your phone off and missing personal calls.
Getting a separate business phone number is a great way to keep these two segments of your life apart. At the end of work hours, further separate them. Simply direct all your business calls to voicemail or an answering service. Meanwhile, your access to personal calls is not hampered. You can answer the phone without fear of getting pulled into a business situation.
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Establish Boundaries to Separate Work and Home
Having a home-based business can be a wonderful situation for most people. However, you need boundaries to optimize your chances for success. So adopt a few simple strategies to separate your work life and your home life. Then you can make sure you’re achieving your best at home as well as at work.