Don't Let the Day Slip Away: Develop a Momentum
It's tempting to sleep late or spend extra time reading the newspaper when you work from home. But since you're your own boss, you need to get started promptly and keep working on a regular schedule. Here are several suggestions for perusing your small home business opportunity:
* Take action. Sit down at your desk, make up or review a "to do" list, and then begin with the most interesting task on the list.
* Set a deadline for yourself to complete a given project by a certain time.
* Bribe yourself by promising a reward if you accomplish a specific task.
Once you get started with your Working Home Business Opportunity, your work can develop a momentum that keeps you going all day. We've also found, however, that taking a break every few hours contributes to an increase in productivity and creativity.
Don't Allow Disruptions: Set Specific Boundaries
Even the most carefully constructed plans are vulnerable to interruptions and distractions. The most common ones you are likely to encounter fall into these three categories:
* Household responsibilities. Don't let errands and household activities become a regular part of your workday. Cultivate the attitude that even though you are physically at home, you are mentally at work.
* Family and friends. Talking to your spouse, children or friends can potentially consume much of your time. Instead, work out a clear plan with your loved ones and get their support. Let them know when you will be working so they will avoid disturbing your concentration.
* Losing focus. Don't interrupt yourself with office minutia or extraneous phone calls. Set up your environment to help you stay focused on the job at hand. Put temptation out of sight as much as possible.
If disruptions continue to be the bane of your workday, consider relocating your office to a different area of the house or changing your office hours, perhaps working after the children are asleep or early in the morning before other activities have started.
Don't Become a Workaholic: Make Time for Your Private Life
As your own boss, it's also easy to become a workaholic and inadvertently neglect your personal life, family and fun. Follow these recommendations to avoid burnout and depression from undertaking too much work:
* Set up a firm schedule. Establish a fixed stopping point every day and do not compromise on this except for emergencies. If needed, develop a closing ritual such as a walk around the block or taking a class to make sure you get out of the office at a set time.
* Protect your free time. Make sure clients know your work hours, and do not take calls or allow business visitors to "drop by" at any hour.
* Establish mini-breaks. Set aside five to 15 minutes a day to "do nothing." Spend that time doing something you enjoy such as gardening, playing with a pet, or sitting in the sun.
If you tend to overwork, it is crucial to develop new values that support a healthier and more balanced, productive and secure life. Never underestimate the therapeutic effects of relaxing on a regular basis.
Don't Do It the Hard Way: Use Technology to Streamline Your Operations
Home-office technology can streamline many of your most time-consuming administrative tasks -- and save you money. Here are a few examples:
* Use the templates that come with your word processor for standardized documents such as fax cover sheets and invoices.
* Learn to rely on the spell checker, grammar checker, dictionary and electronic thesaurus features that are part of many software packages to enhance the accuracy and quality of your business documents.
* Scan names, addresses and phone numbers directly from business cards into your computer using a card scanner.
* Use special preprinted papers from companies like Paper Direct (800/APAPERS) and Queblo (800/523-9080) to produce attractive customized flyers, business cards, presentation folders, brochures and newsletters quickly.
In addition, many kinds of technologically-advanced equipment are available that enable you to speed up daily tasks. These include programmable telephones, high-speed printers, electronic postage scales, electric staplers, letter-opening machines, letter folders and dictation equipment.
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