You work from home and you’re always bragging about how flexible, fulfilling and rewarding it is.
No awful commute, no terrible boss, no pointless conversations with awful work colleagues.
You’re in control and accountable to no-one.
But deep down you know you’re a fraud.
You often feel imprisoned in your own home, handcuffed to your business and isolated.
Your day has little or no direction, so all those hours you’re putting in are wasted, and your business is hemorrhaging money.
You secretly wish you had a boss to plan your day, encourage you, kick your butt and tell you to clock off. And work colleagues to talk to, have a Friday night drink with, and to say, “Bless You,” when you sneeze.
All that initial hope, enthusiasm and excitement’s long gone. Instead you’re bored, exhausted, disillusioned, in debt and lonely. But instead of admitting you’re failing, you stay on the familiar hamster-wheel, repeating the same deadly working habits.
Running home-based businesses since 2000, I've embraced so many bad habits that my business went into shock and needed costly CPR.
Maybe now’s the time for you to face up to your deadly habits and prevent your business from flat-lining?
1. Creating No Boundaries
A job offers set hours of work, a structure to your day and a working atmosphere.
But not when you work from home. Surrounded by the familiar sights and sounds of your home life, the line blurs between what’s work and what’s not.
Antidote: Plan and Create a Work Structure
Set specific daily working hours. Not necessarily 9-5 or 8-6. Choose what best fits your circumstances.
Plan your business time and leisure time so you know when they both start and finish for a happier and healthier balance.
Create a dedicated, clutter-free workspace so you feel you’re at work.
2. Not Switching On
You procrastinate (make excuses), research (waste hours on social media and surfing the net), finish important paperwork (tidy your desk), and have several time-out breaks (more social media, cups of coffee and daytime TV).
You’re totally ineffective with your time and it’s damaging your bottom line. Then when you’re with family and friends, you’re still mentally at work with all the stuff you didn’t do, gnawing away at you.
Antidote: Get Tough With Yourself
Write down your goals, targets and plan of action stating what you intend to achieve, by when and your reason why. What will doing these things give you?
Listen to your excuses and ask, “What will happen if I don’t do x?”
Tell someone who won’t let you off the hook about your plans, or find a fellow work-from-homer and become accountability buddies. You’ll be surprised how much more you achieve when you share it.
Don’t confuse Busyness with Business.
3. Not Switching Off
You’ve had a productive day but you can’t stop as you still have unfinished business. But you know you should be spending time with family and friends so you feel guilty and your concentration isn’t entirely on business.
You can’t win. You’re not fulfilling any of your roles properly and the guilt causes added pressure and stress.
Antidote: Give Yourself a Break!
Accept that you’ll never complete everything. If, or when, you had a job, did you always leave work with everything finished?
Remind and congratulate yourself on what you have achieved rather than focusing on what you haven’t. Set deadlines, know exactly what time you’ll finish and stick to it.
4. Taking Little Time Off
You don’t get sick or holiday pay so you can’t afford time out and you’re exhausted. Instead of liberated, you feel trapped.
Your dream of flexibility, freedom and control has turned into a nightmare.
Antidote: Get Some Balance
You’ll need to sacrifice, but give yourself permission to take time out.
What kind of a boss would you be if you were an employer? Why do you deserve less?
If you want to take a month off per year, calculate what you need to earn in eleven months. How? Work out what you need to earn per month. Multiply that figure by twelve and then divide that figure by eleven.
The difference between your final figure and your monthly figure is what you put aside to pay yourself when you take time off.
5. Making The Wrong Choices
With a job, you don’t get a great deal of choice; you do the work that someone else planned for you.
Working from home, you have freedom of choice and you know that everything you do has an impact. But you forget that everything you choose not to do also has an impact.
Brian Tracy uses the phrase Everything Counts. Everything you do counts. Everything you don’t do, counts.
Antidote: Make Better Choices More Often
Ask: “If I choose to do this, what will the impact be?” and, “If I choose not to do this, what will the impact be?”
Stop hiding behind excuses, be honest and take responsibility.
6. Saying “Yes” Instead of “No” To Family and Friends
Some people don’t take your work seriously. Come on, you don’t have a ‘proper job’ do you?!
You’re free to go for a cup of coffee, it’s ok to pop around for a chat and you’re always available for small favors.
Your partner or kids think, because you’re at home, you’re fair game whenever they want something.
Antidote: Communicate With Your Loved Ones
Let them know exactly when you’ll be working and why it’s important. Learn to say ‘No’ when friends and family ring or call around.
With those you live with, use a sign so they know not to disturb you, unless they have an emergency. If you have young children at home all day, create work time when you know they’ll be asleep or being looked after by someone.
7. Being Constantly Distracted
Your home life surrounds you and you succumb to daily chores, the telephone, TV, your mobile, social media and the lure of the kitchen.
You’re putting in the hours, but deep down you know you’re spending a lot of time on non-income generating activities.
Antidote: Face Your Distractions Head On
You’re in control. They’re only distractions if you allow them to be, so make a list of the distractions that you allow to pull you, off track.
Then ask: “What can I do to minimize or remove these distractions?”
Limit, and plan in, your social media time and recognize when it’s no longer valuable networking, but simply time-wasting. Outside that time, close all social media tabs and your email inbox.
What's Your Prognosis?
When my business needed resuscitating, I had to stop being a fraud. I was forced to admit it wasn’t working and take responsibility for the mistakes I’d made and the habits I’d created.
I had to change the way I thought, the way I worked and the pathetic excuses I made to myself.
CPR comes at a price. It sets you back while you convalesce and get fighting-fit again.
You can do something about your bad habits and you can make changes today. Yes it’ll take time, but with some soul-searching, some honesty and some changes to how you work, you can be more productive, more successful and happier when working from home.
So what’s the catch?
It's down to you.
You have to want to.
You have to decide to.
You have to commit to making those changes.
Do that and your business won't just survive, it'll flourish. And then your friends will have every right to be jealous of you.
|Written on 11/23/2012 by Chris Lappin. Chris Lappin is a blogger and qualified Life Coach with a passion for supporting women who work from home to balance their work and home life so they’re more productive and happier. Her free Improve How You Work From Home E-course will help you do that and more.|