Starting a home-based business is the dream of many entrepreneurs and for good reason. Running a company from the comfort of your own home provides you with a high degree of flexibility, eliminates the need to commute, offers greater control over your company’s scalability, and brings many useful tax breaks.
But for all the perks that come with running a business out of a private residence, one common problem that many home-based entrepreneurs encounter is the tendency to forget to set boundaries that prevent one’s work and personal life from becoming comingled. If you’re a business owner who has established a company within your own home, the following tips will help you to create healthy habits at home office in order to separate your personal and professional life and contribute to a better overall work-life balance.
Seclude your workspace from the rest of your home
Having a designated space for your business within your home will help you to focus solely on your work as a professional, rather than blending the two and blurring the line between your professional and personal lives. Choosing a specific room within your house to become an office can help you to establish a physical and psychological boundary that allows you to eliminate distractions. If you do not have the ability to dedicate a whole room to your job, then easily portable items such as a divider, curtain, or even furniture can allow you to section off a portion of your room to devote exclusively to your job.
Apart from eliminating distractions by establishing physical boundaries, it’s important to keep a clear mind in your office space that allows you to tune out pressures at home that may pull you away from work. To do this, you should commit to reducing clutter and other items that may take up residence in your workspace. Additionally, you should resist the urge to check social media and other online activities during office hours.
Dress up for work
While it may seem simple, choosing to get up in the morning and to dress professionally before working at a home-based business can be a particularly effective way to get more things done. While working in your pajamas or comfortable clothes can be a tempting perk of running a company out of your home, it may not necessarily put you in the most productive mindset. Studies show that the way you dress on any given day can affect the way that you feel and approach your business ventures. In order to be successful in a job that involves working from home, you need to treat your home office the same way that you would any other professional environment and commit to a daily schedule that includes donning business-friendly attire.
Enforce strict office hours
It is important for home-based entrepreneurs to remember that just because you work out of your home does not mean that you can be interrupted by the demands of your personal life. Similar to how you must treat your home office as a workplace in the way that you dress, you must also treat it as a workplace in the way that you enforce office hours. Talk to your family about your work schedule, and let them know when you are available to focus on personal matters versus when you need your attention to be trained solely on work. Make sure to also ignore the pressure of household chores. Recognize that any time you take to perform personal tasks during work hours will likely make you feel the need to perform work tasks during your personal time. While your office hours should be set to provide flexibility and accommodate your personal life, you should make it clear to both your loved ones and yourself that when it is time to work, your focus should not be on anything else.
Say “no” when necessary
When you work from home, it can be tempting to change your office hours in order to accommodate the needs of your family. While one of the benefits of running a business from home is that it offers the flexibility to create a schedule on your own terms, you should treat your time at a home-based business the same way that you would treat any other position. Be prudent about the time you spend away from your office, and learn to say “no” to non-professional engagements if they aren’t planned in advance.
Take small breaks
As with any other professional role, you should step away from your desk, as needed. While breaks from work may seem like they would reduce productivity, small blocks of time spent clearing your mind can actually prevent boredom and enhance your focus. Set aside enough time throughout the day to enjoy lunch, take a walk, or perform stretching exercises to refresh yourself and come back to your desk with a renewed enthusiasm for your tasks. This can help you to stay focused, get more accomplished, and feel better about leaving work behind at the end of the day.
Shut the door
As a home-based entrepreneur, it is vital to close the door to your home office, both literally and metaphorically, at the end of your designated work day. Running your own business may require you to work more hours than that of the standard work week in order to achieve success. A work-life balance cannot be achieved if you make yourself available professionally 24/7. A lack of boundaries between your professional and personal life will lead to burnout. When you close the door of your home office at the end of the day, remember to close the door to thoughts about your professional life, as well.