Time Management For The Home-Based Entrepreneur
This is the final article in my series of time management techniques. These are the others, in case you missed them.
- Simple Time Management Tips
- Save Time By Getting Organized
- Time Pressure and Stress
- How Time Management Can Improve Your Income
Pros and Cons of Working From Home
Although the “work from home” lifestyle may seem an ideal dream, there are downsides.
You can be at work in minutes
No commute costs
You can take time for family commitments
You are your own boss
You may be disturbed regularly if people don't respect your work time
You're reluctant to "close shop" and stop working
You miss having work colleagues
The buck stops with you
Time management for the home-based entrepreneur.
Family pressure is common among small business entrepreneurs but implementing effective time management tips can help keep you productive and the family happy.
Naturally, when you’re building a business, your time should be focused on your work; however, you need to spend enough time with your family as well.
Your intentions are good. You want to spend time with the family but yet you yearn to make your business profitable.
Sometimes you forget the reasons why you are in business and wonder why you should remain in business. Your family seems not understand the pressure you’re under.
Or perhaps things are going along well and then an unexpected family crisis knocks everything out of the window. If you were going out to a “proper job” and the cat got sick, it probably wouldn’t be cause for you to take a day of work. But if you work from home you may find yourself drawn into domestic crises that could quite easily be handled without you.
Sometimes you feel defeated. What are you supposed to do?
A simple change to your priorities can do wonders for your business and the family’s morale. The expression “give a little, get a little” comes into play when you’re juggling a demanding work schedule and trying to please family members.
If you expect loved ones to understand your business needs, you’ll need to understand their desire to spend quality time with you.
Address Family Stresses
If you can’t fix it, feature it. Let the family see some of the benefits of your home based business.
- Enjoy some relaxation in front of the television with your spouse and children. Take a dip in the pool or construct a jigsaw puzzle together. Take a two-hour lunch break and go to the park or visit the zoo. It needn’t take much effort to make them happy.
- Buy them a little treat when you make a good sale.
- Involve your family in decision making and planning for the business – even the youngest members. An unexpected benefit for you is that they may see things from a customer’s perspective and come up with ideas you hadn’t thought of.
Proper management of your time is essential to achieve business success, but it’s also imperative to preserve family harmony. If you feel your life is out of sync or the climb to success is a burden on the family it’s time to make some changes.
Time Management For The Home Based Entrepreneur
Here are a dozen effective techniques to help you reduce wasted time while increasing efficiency and family harmony:
- Consider hiring outside help instead of doing it all as a solo act. This alone may act as a barrier to family interruptions. See also item (6) on this list.
- Turn down any new work until you’re caught up on current projects. “Scarcity” works – clients may see you as an even more valuable resource!
- Complete high-priority tasks while children are in bed.
- Start work an hour earlier, while the rest of the family is sleeping. It’s amazing how much work can be completed while the house is quiet.
- Avoid unnecessary disruptions from friends and neighbors. Make it known that your work time is simply that – your time to work!
- Place a limit on telephone calls – turn off the ringer and let the answer-phone take the strain. Or just hire someone to screen all incoming calls. This could even be a family member. In the UK this could be a tax-deductible expense for your business and a tax-free income for someone whose earnings are below the tax threshold. I’m not an accountant, so check this out with your own accountant and check the laws in your own country.
- If you use them, pre-print batches of letter headings with your name, address, telephone number, website and email.
- Plan and schedule your days in advance. Knowing what is on the daily agenda will help you stay focused and on track.
- Repeat common tasks at the same time every day to help you remember what needs to be done. Set alarms on your smart-phone. This will keep your workday consistent and easy to follow.
- Become super-efficient by getting organized. You’ll finish each project quicker and have more time to spend on other things.
- Limit your time on emails, social media etc – these can be real time-drains.
- Use time-tracking software like RescueTime. (Aff link, but I find the free version does all I need.)
The Best Of Both Worlds!
By utilizing proper time management techniques, you can alleviate the daily pressures associated with running a business from home.
You’ll only work during work hours, satisfied with your business and able to “close shop” with happy thoughts that a loving family is awaiting your arrival – without a mad dash on public transport.
Top tip: Any entrepreneur worthy of the title will realize the value of out-sourcing tasks they can’t efficiently do themselves.
I hope the above tips will help you maintain a good balance between family life and your home-based business.
How do YOU balance family time and work time in your home-based business? Please share your best tips in the comments below.