Staying on Schedule Working At Home

From Susan Ward,
Your Guide to Small Business: Canada.

Working at home can be a dream come true if you can get your work schedule organized so that you can actually work at home. Here are more work at home "rules" to help you accomplish what you want to accomplish.

4) Keep Your Calendar Prominent

On the desk, or on your computer, keeping your work schedule deadlines visible so you can get organized and stay on task is crucial. Get in the habit of starting every work at home business day by looking at your calendar and the deadlines or to-do activities you've listed there; focus on what you can and can't accomplish that day and prioritize your tasks. Deciding what to do and when you need to do it will put you in work-mode and let you work more efficiently.

5) Keep Track of Your Time

Time tracking is obviously important if you're working billable hours, but you should keep track of all the time you work at home so you can adjust your work schedule if necessary and see if you're achieving your home-based business goals. You may have a home-based business goal of working only five hours a day, for instance, but find that doing so doesn't produce enough income for you. If you haven't been time tracking, you'll be in for a nasty shock six months later. The easiest way to keep track of your time is to use a notebook or daytimer and write down your hours and tasks throughout the working day as you work at home.

Remember to include work-related activities such as answering email and paperwork in your time tracking; if you don't list them as "work" you won't think of them as work, and will put them off. Make these unappetizing tasks part of your regular work at home routine, so you avoid having to shut down your home based business for days on end while you try to catch up on paperwork you should have been doing all year long!

6) Keep to Your Work Schedule

Determine how many hours a day you want to work and when, and stick to it. The huge advantage of working at home is that you can work when you want, so if you find the best time to work is afternoons and evenings, work then. If you're working at home around the needs of your children and/or spouse, you may find that getting up really early in the mornings will give you the quiet time you need. But whatever work schedule you establish, be consistent. Your work will go much easier and more efficiently if you stay on a regular schedule, whatever it is.

7) Be Realistic

You're not going to be able to put in ten hour days when you work at home, more than likely. If you work at home, you're the one who's going to have to deal with the door to door solicitors, the neighbour who likes to drop in, and whatever house crisis happens, from the plugged toilet through the delivery arrival. Determine how many hours you can actually sanely, safely work and stick to that work schedule as much as possible. Remember that sleep is vital; people who get up in the middle of the night to put in more hours or who stay up working into the wee hours only get consistently more sleep deprived, not richer.

And if you have a bad work at home day where the universe appears to conspire to interrupt you continuously, be kind to yourself. The great thing about working at home is that you set your own work schedule. Controlling it rather than letting it control you will increase your productivity and your peace of mind. And whether you’re looking for information, motivation, or support, you'll find it in my Home-Based Business collection of articles and links. Working at home can be like working in paradise, as long as you control your environment rather than letting it control you.

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