Running a business from home is a tricky thing because, on one hand, you have decided to work from home for the flexibility; while on the other hand, everyone (including you, sometimes) seems to think working from home means a vacation with a computer. Taking advantage of the flexibility of working at home does not mean that you must answer to everyone’s beck and call, or be distracted by each little thing. This is easy to say, but hard to do when you are in the moment. At the moment, if the phone rings and you must choose between finishing a business-related email or answering the phone, the phone may seem more pressing. In order to increase your productivity, it is important to run your business like a business, and not like a hobby that you do after rolling out of bed.
First of all, do away with wearing pajamas to work. Whoever said that what you wear doesn’t matter is a lie. What you wear reflects the way you are feeling, to a large extent. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should wear a suit around your house – unless, of course, your clients are coming to your home office for appointments. It just means that, by wearing your pajamas and sweat pants all the time you will not feel as though you are really in the mood to put forward your most productive self. Shower in the morning, put on some clothes that do not have jumping sheep on them, and sit down at your desk feeling like a professional.
Next, think about the time you do your work as a schedule that you need to plan out. If you find that you are planning your work around doing everyone else’s dirty work, then you are not dedicating yourself to your job. Your schedule should include the time you get up, when you will start working, and when you will take your breaks. Make sure that the time scheduled for work is fairly uninterrupted. This may mean investing in a second phone line, and moving your home office away from the television or other parts of the house where you may be distracted.
Make sure that the people you are committed to understand that you are on a schedule. If someone calls to ask you out to a leisurely lunch, think first about whether or not you would be able to do this if you were working a regular job. Scheduling leisure time on schedule days off means that you are putting time and effort into your work, and this will be reflected in your income.