The opportunity to work from home is a huge motivating factor for women who run their own business. Being able to run your domestic life closely along your business life can seem so much easier, especially if you have children or are caring for older relatives.
However, working from home can also be a challenge – particularly when you are part of a busy household. Home distractions can be a real threat to productivity!
Harder still can be staying focused on business once a personal problem occupies your mind.
Whatever the cause, whether a sick family member or building work in the house, it is easy to underestimate their impact. Most people will feel distracted and less able to focus on work with continuing problems leading to fire-fighting, poor time management, inefficiency and, eventually, stress.
Here are a few tips that may help to make working from home a little easier, when under pressure:
1. Have a proper office – a room that is your own, however small it is. There are times you need to be able to close the door! Ideally, your office won’t have to double up as a personal space, as you want to be able to ‘go to work’ – almost literally- when starting your day.
2. Use technology wisely to help you work or stay connected remotely when you can’t physically be in the office. I learnt to maximise my iPhone when I spent time out of the office driving my husband to and from hospital appointments.
3. Pay more attention to your time management – focus on daily planning, but be flexible with your schedule and catch up when you can. There is no requirement to work 9 to 5! Always make sure important projects and tasks get done first – put lower priority activities on the backburner for a while.
4. Keep separate business and domestic to-do lists, to ensure you don’t forget anything as a result of being distracted. Your lists will guide you and keep you focused every day.
5. Have associates or colleagues who you can call on when working on major projects, especially if you are delivering to tight deadlines.
And finally, schedule at least one short break during the day to give you some valuable breathing space. Don’t underestimate these small amounts of regular “me-time”, as they can be a very important stress management technique for busy home-based businesswomen.