Running a home business presents challenges: kids, pets, or laundry constantly threaten to interrupt your workflow. To combat the potential distractions, use the following nine tips to keep the interruptions at bay and increase your home business productivity.
1. Designate your workspace
If you work from home, you need an area dedicated to that business. It could be a commandeered breakfast nook or an unused third bedroom. Whichever area of the home you choose, make it your own. Renovate a spare bedroom, if needed, or work with an interior designer. These professionals can help you maximise the space as well as suggest ergonomic furniture and other helpful business accessories. The quality of your workspace has been shown to influence productivity.
2. Dress for the day
Your friends might joke you can roll out of bed and straight into work, but home business owners know better. They leave the bed and “dress to impress” because clothing often affects attitude. Studies have shown that people who dress more formally engage in higher levels of abstract thinking. If you’re on a conference call with a potential lead, you want to be fully alert and positive. It could be the ‘thing’ that convinces the caller to make a purchase or set up a retainer.
3. Identify your best times to work
If you’ve been running a home business for a while, you know when your peak productivity hours occur. Guard them jealously. These hours are the ones when the work comes more easily. Says Steph Taylor, founder and director of health and wellness marketing agency Wildbloom Creative, ‘It’s important to work when you have more energy and recognise when you just need to chill out and not be too hard on yourself’.
4. Take breaks throughout the day
Once you know your best work hours, don’t forget to take breaks throughout the day. An activity tracker works wonders in this regard; it can remind you to stand and move around for a few minutes every hour. Other home business owners like Rachel Ballard, food blogger at The Country Contessa, recommend an online timer. Ballard sets the timer for forty-five minutes and works until it goes off. She then takes ten to fifteen minutes to do something else—walk around, start a load of laundry, etc.—before starting the timer to work again.
5. Set your hours
Taking breaks is vital to your work day, but making sure your workday ends is also vital for your health. Taylor mentions the importance of this old proverb: ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’. Prevent burn-out and set aside work at a regular time every day to do something rejuvenating. Spend time with your kids, take a walk or read a book. Do things you know relax and re-energize you today so that you’re ready to tackle the workload tomorrow.
6. Organise your workload
‘A failure to plan is a plan to fail’. Home business owners understand the reality all too well, perhaps explaining why many of them swear by to-do lists, planners, wall calendars and apps. These tools allow them to control each day rather than the days controlling them. Some of these business owners also write a task list at the end of every workday so that they can dive right into the work the next morning.
7. Invest in productivity tools.
If you aren’t sure where the hours in your day are going, find out. Numerous web-based platforms and mobile apps can monitor your day to assess where time gets lost. Fred Davidson at Simple Condo Advice highly recommends ‘Freedom’, a tool that blocks notifications, applications and ‘even the entire internet for certain time periods’. He uses the tool to safeguard specific hours and keep on task with the work at hand, be it creative projects or communication with clients. Home-business owners also agree that a reliable internet connection is essential to ensure that your productivity is not intermittently disrupted.
8. Get outside the house
Some home business owners find their work rhythm at home, while others require some social hubbub in the background. Figure out what environment suits you best. David Poulsen of Cut Cable Today says that regardless of your introverted or extroverted nature, using a coffee shop or co-working space every so often will help you maintain contact with the living and boost overall productivity and positivity.
9. Find other areas where you can save time
If you find yourself spending more time preparing meals or picking up kids from school than working, determine ways to reclaim the lost time. When it comes to kids, you might need to discuss options with your partner. Meals afford an easier solution: prepare lunches and dinners in advance.
Increasing home productivity is possible, as evidenced by the nine tactics listed here. But how do you get more done? Share your thoughts in the comments below or on social media!