For busy parents, running a home-based business can offer a wide variety of opportunities to maintain an income while still not missing out on some of your family’s most important moments.
Juggling work and home responsibilities is difficult enough when you work in an office away from home. However, it can reach a new level of challenge when business and pleasure fuse in the same place. Organization is critical to running home and work businesses effectively. It may seem like a daunting task, but you can certainly do it.
I’d like to share with you some organizational tips that may help you balance your busy work and home schedules.
Establish Clear Boundaries
Being in closer proximity to your family is great, but you also need time to focus on your own tasks. Creating clear boundaries needs to happen on several levels. Creating a separate space devoted to work is one effective way to separate the two, but setting up hours as sacrosanct work times will also help create the time you need to focus solely on business.
However, if you create sacred work time, do the same for your family. If you make mealtime, bedtime, or after school time a period that is solely devoted to them, you will most likely find that they will be more than happy to wait to tell you about exciting events of the day until they have your full attention.
While it may not happen every day, it is important to schedule a specific time when they, rather than work, are your priority. This will also help you feel not as guilty in cases where you have to prioritize work over your family.
Automate as Much as You Can
Nowadays, an infinite number of services allow you to automate many daily tasks and leave you free to focus on what matters most – building your business. From grocery delivery services where you can create a standing order in advance to automated bill paying and social media posting, the sky is the limit of what you can automate these days.
You live in a digital age, be sure to take full advantage of what it offers.
Find A Way to Stay Focused
Sometimes, it is easier to get others to respect the boundaries you set between your work life and personal life than it is to adhere to them yourself. One of the most important things you can do is to figure out what is most distracting to you and eliminate it.
For some people, this may be social media, and for others it may be a sink full of dishes. Perhaps the crucial step for entrepreneurial parents running home-based businesses is to find out how to create the right environment that allows you to intercept distractions and focus on a specific task.
This may mean getting out of the house and working at a local coffeehouse for an hour or two. Or, it may involve turning off your cell phone or installing a block on your work computer that keeps you from accessing social media.
Usually, a detailed to-do list or task manager can do the trick. Whatever it is, you need to find it and use it.
Women often labor under the delusion they have to be “Supermom” and do it all. You don’t. In fact, spreading yourself too thin can make you ineffective at everything you do.
One of the best things you can do to increase effectiveness is organizing your life around the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule. Devote 80% of your time to the top 20% most important tasks and delegate the rest. While this is slowly changing, women are still pulling the most weight in household chores.
If you want to run a successful business, however, these are the very tasks you might need to hire someone else to do. This might involve using a personal assistant, a bookkeeper, nanny or other childcare help, or even a housekeeper. When determining which tasks you need to take care of and what you can delegate, just ask yourself what tasks need your personal focus and what can someone else easily accomplish.
Running errands and doing laundry or dishes are tasks that almost anyone can do, which means you can delegate them. Landing a new client, however, is something you need to attend to personally.
The disadvantage of being your own boss is having no one looking over your shoulder to ensure that you stay focused and on-task.
Entrepreneurship means you need to be your own boss. All responsibilities that fall on a manager to get the most out of their employees now rests squarely on your shoulders.
One trick to accomplishing this is to ask yourself if you had an employee that is encountering the same obstacle you are, what would you do to help them move past it, then do the same for yourself.
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Michelle Laurey is a writer and a remote assistant for a few small businesses. Always interested in ways which can help individuals reach full potential in life, she enjoys producing stories on productivity, lifestyle, and entrepreneurship. Thunderstorms and heavy showers spark her creativity and imagination. After work, she counterfeits the sedentary life with spin classes. Talk to her on Twitter.