Tips For Working At Home

If you are a new solopreneur, chances are that you are excited by your plan and just want to dive right in.  Your home office may look something like this right now, but if you are serious about being in business, you will need some structure in your time and space.  After many years of being a solopreneur in business, here are some tips for working at home.

What I have learned through trial and error. 

  • Allocate a specific portion of your home devoted to business only.  It should be comfortable, have lots of light, and quiet.
  • Create a work schedule.  Form a habit by beginning and ending your day at the same time.  You run the risk of goofing off or working all the time if you don’t.
  • Allocate specific days for specific activities.  I use Monday for writing, Tuesday for on-line socializing, Wednesday for a contract, etc. – Try listing all the activities you must do regularly and group them so that you gain some time efficiency.
  • Decide when is the most efficient time to check your in-box and social media.  Turn off all notifications so that you don’t get distracted.
  • Determine when you do your best work and allocate that time for creative work.  Use the time when you “have no brain left” for routine tasks.
  • Keep your work space organized with only work related items close at hand.  This helps to keep your focus on your business.
  • Keep office supplies topped up so that you don’t have the inconvenience at an inopportune time.  (Printer cartridges, printer paper, pens, etc.)
  • If you do a lot of computer work, two monitors will save you a lot of time and frustration.
  • Go paperless.  You need a scanner and shredder for this.  Your computer system must have some structure so that you can find saved items easily.  Try a numbered filing system using date (20016-10-23 Subject)  You must also have a backup system in case of computer accident.
  • If you tend to print off items for reading, use the flip side for scratch paper, doodling and first draft writing.  Then shred.
  • Dress comfortably, yet professionally.  If you do spontaneous on-line video work, start the day with a shave, hair groomed and makeup complete.
  • Take a physical break hourly – stand while reading, sit while computing.
  • Take mental breaks to reflect or relax.  This is the time for those mindless activities such as watering the plants or loading the dishwasher.
  • Exercise regularly.  An hour’s walk is a great way to begin the day or to break up the day at lunch time.  Regular exercise is good for the brain.
  • Take a break from the computer and read professional development books.
  • Socialize.  Meet other business folks.  Join networking groups and get actively involved.  It’s so easy to talk yourself out of this from the home office.  Meet individuals for coffee or lunch or on-line Hangout.
  • Cultivate an on-line community of compatible colleagues that you meet on-line regularly.  This allows you to expand your reach.
  • Use integrated systems such as Google Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Drive and use them fully for efficiency.  Make great use of reminders to ensure you don’t miss something important.
  • Use an on-line organizer such as Google Keep for To-do List and Evernote for ideas.
  • Have a list of specialists that you can call on for help:
    • IT specialist for computer hardware problems
    • Website Specialist for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and for keeping your website fresh
    • Accountant/Bookkeeper for record keeping advice and tax returns
  • Subscribe to on-line news-feeds to stay on top of current trends
  • Regularly study “How To” courses.  Keep adding to your skills and knowledge base.
  • Take a day off when you need it.  Go somewhere, do something.  Your flexible work time allows this.  You may have to work a weekend day to compensate but you’ll derive a valuable new perspective when you do that once in a while.

 Mindset Monday Challenge

Review your typical week and decide what’s working well and what you would like to improve.  Please share tips for what works for you.
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