There is a knock at the door. The phone is ringing. The neighbors dogs are barking. The kids keep running in and out of your office interrupting you just as you are making strides at knocking out your daily to-do list. The kids have after school activities and dinner needs to be cooked. Does this sound familiar? How in the world can you accomplish anything in a home office? This week I would like to discuss ways to stay focused on your business when you are an entrepreneur with an office in your home. It is so easy to become distracted.
“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.” Winston Churchill
Having a home office is difficult. Friends and family do not understand that you need to work with no interruptions. I have had friends say, “well I know you are home during the day, let’s meet for lunch and go shopping.” I am home because I work at home. It has been a challenge to get my friends and family on the same page and have them realize that I AM AT HOME, but I am WORKING. Last week my husband called and when I didn’t answer, he left a message saying, “when you wake up from your nap, give me a call.” Really? I know he was kidding, but again I was reminded that when you have your office in your home, people think that you do not work.
My office is actually downstairs so there are times that I do not hear someone knocking at the door. If I am on a call with a client or supplier, or, if I am listening to a webinar, I will not go to the door. Most of the time it is someone wanting me to listen to a pitch about their religion, sell me something, or, it’s someone who wants to come in, have a cup of coffee and chat for a while. I love company, but not when I’m trying to work.
My husband has 2 days off during the week and works weekends. After struggling to balance time with my husband and spending time on my business, I decided to take one day off during the week and put my focus on him. As a trade off, I am trying to work in my office on Saturdays. Building my business is very important to me, and I want to make sure that I dedicate enough time to making it successful.
“Stay focused. A challenge only becomes an obstacle when you bow to it.” Ray Davis
So, how do you create a life that allows you to spend time working your business and time with your family and friends?
Set A Schedule
Decide what days you will work in your office and what days you will schedule appointments or call on clients. This schedule will need to be flexible because a client may only be able to see you on Wednesdays and if Wednesdays are an office day, you will need to be accommodating.
Do Not Get Lost on The Internet
It is easy to sign on to Facebook to create a post and suddenly an hour or more has passed. Reading all of the posts from friends and family is time-consuming. I use a timer to keep me focused. I spend thirty minutes every morning to catch up on posts from friends and posting a positive quote for the day. If I don’t set a timer, I spend too much time reading posts and looking at articles. The internet can truly be a time thief.
Turn Off The Television
How many hours a week do you watch television? The only thing on tv during the day is daytime talkshows, gameshows, and soap operas. If there is a show you simply cannot miss, place that time into your schedule and watch it while you walk on your treadmill, open your mail or eat your lunch. You can also record the show and watch it in the evening when you’ve completed your work day.
Schedule Breaks On Your To-Do List
It is important to create a To-Do List that helps you completed your daily tasks and gives you time for occasional breaks or a walk to get fresh air. Too many times, business owners place way too many items on their To-Do List and end up being frustrated that items are still on the list at the end of the day. As you create your To-Do List, be honest with how much time it will take to complete each task. Keep a bottle of water on your desk so that you stay hydrated and take a break every hour and a half to two hours. Step outside and take a few minutes to breathe the fresh air. Walk up and down your sidewalk for 10 minutes to clear your mind and keep your blood flowing. It is not good for you to sit at your desk all day without getting up to move a little bit.
Create a Playlist of Your Favorite Music
Listening to music can keep you focused and distract you from the noise in other areas of your home. Some experts suggest that you create a playlist of wordless music so you don’t get lost in the lyrics, but I think that anything that blocks out distractions works. Create your playlist that lasts for an hour and a half or two hours, and take a break when the music stops. Walk outside and breathe in some fresh air. Do some stretches. Drink some water. Clear your thoughts and when you get back to work, you will be more productive. If you decide to simply turn on the radio, set a timer so you will be reminded when it’s time to take a break.
“Determine your priorities and focus on them.” Eileen McDargh
My challenge to you this week is the following –
Look at your home office and consider ways of becoming more productive. Is your office functional? Do you need to teach your family that they cannot interrupt you when the door is closed? Do your friends need a gentle reminder that your office is in your home and that you will schedule time with them during “non-work” hours? Are you careful to take breaks every hour and a half to two hours? Do you need to take the television out of your office and bring in some speakers for your music?
Find ways to be more productive. You can be successful without spending money on an office outside of your home. During one of my trade shows last year, I met an entrepreneur who told me she had her office in her home until her sales hit $5 million/year. She told me not to apologize for keeping my office in my home, but to cherish the fact that my commute was short and the traffic on the way to my office was non-existent. I took her words to heart. Although I would love an outside office, I cherish my home office and fact that my sons are grown so my interruptions are few.
Have a blessed week!
I own a promotional products company, Gardner Promotional Solutions, where I offer over 1 million different products to meet your promotional needs. In addition, I also have a complete wedding line including save the dates, invitations, napkins, imprinted stemware and attendants gifts. I’d love to schedule an appointment or a phone call with you to see how I can help you with your promotional items!