Working from home to build a small but successful business is amazing.
Doing this has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
I love getting up every day knowing that my business is part of my home life.
As an introvert this suits me perfectly.
But working from home does not come without hurdles or distractions.
If you’re a work from home female business owner, I want to share some work from home hacks to help keep you really productive in your daily business life, to prevent you being absorbed by distractions and procrastination that can sometimes impact your at home business life.
Having some routine for your home/work life is essential. When yo have this, you’ll achieve more, be more productive and feel better in your business day by day.
It’s important to start by getting clarity around the hours you’ll be able to apply yourself to your business, rather than going with the flow, winging it, and trying to squeeze business in between spare moments you may have here and there.
When you clearly define your business routine, you can plan to work at your highest level during the times you’re available to grow your small business.
When you do this, you’ll get more done, you’ll feel calmer, you’ll have good boundaries in place, and you’ll keep stress at bay.
Let’s dive in.
1. MAP OUT YOUR WORK FROM HOME BUSINESS LIFE
Grab a diary or wall planner, an online calendar or my Ultimate Business Planner, and take some time to sit and think about the time you have available to you each week to focus on your business.
You may find days/times you can commit to as part of a regular long term schedule, there may be other days and times that you’ll have to plan with shorter notice, but you should at the very least commit to having a full schedule for your business set out a week in advance every single week.
I sit quietly on a Sunday morning, and I take time to map out the hours I’m going to be working on my business during the week ahead. I create a detailed schedule of the tasks I’ll work on each day, every day, and at what times.
Being disciplined about doing this has had some great benefits for me.
- I feel in control of my day to day business life.
- I make sure I’m working on the priorities in my business that will lead to better success.
- If things go pear shaped on any one day for any reason, it’s much easier to reschedule things if needed.
- I get a huge amount more done in less time.
- I feel like I have completely freed up brain space to think about and do other things (like learning).
- I know exactly what I should be doing and when, I stick to the schedule and don’t get distracted.
- I don’t procrastinate and put off tasks that I would avoid doing if they weren’t written down on my schedule.
When you’re clear about the days and times you have available to work on your business, you can create a schedule and drop your to-dos on it, making sure you’re time blocking tasks you need to complete.
This gives you a clear plan and roadmap to follow that will keep you on track, keep your focus on the priorities, and save your sanity as you work hard to grow your business.
2. NO MORE MULTI-TASKING
You may not know this, but we don’t actually posses the ability to multi-task. Our brains can only focus on one thing at a time, so when you think you’re cleverly multi-tasking, what you’re actually doing is making your brain jump at lighting speed between one task and another. That’s hard work and energy draining for your grey matter, and it can reduce productivity and the quality of your work.
Instead make space to focus on one task at a time. When you do, your brain will work more effectively, and the quality of the work you do will improve.
Part of the purpose of having a daily schedule is to fully map out your at home business life, which means time blocking tasks on your schedule for home and business, where you only focus on those tasks at the allotted time.
It also means keeping other distractions out of the way. For example, if you’re working on writing an email to send to your list, work only on that. Keep social out of the way, keep notifications out of the way, in fact move your phone/ipad out of arms reach. Shut yourself away in a space where you’re not going to be disturbed, keep the TV off, and focus on the task at hand.
3. HAVE A DEDICATED WORK SPACE
No matter how large or small it is, you need a dedicated work space. No running your business from the kitchen table, or from the sofa in front of the tv. You need a corner, or a space that is yours and yours alone, where everyone in your household understands it is where you go to work.
Create a workspace to help you and your business function. Have clear boundaries for your family who understand when you’re working and cannot be disturbed for any reason, unless there is an emergency.
It may sound selfish – but your business will benefit.
If you’re trying to run a business whilst looking after your children at home, I understand that finding time to work on your business alone can be hard, but I encourage you to look for any pockets of time where you can shut yourself away to do your best work when the children are at nursery or your partner/husband/wife can take care of the childcare for a while.
When you have little option but to be working on your business whilst attending to the children, it’s better to accept that is the situation, and to try to deal with it as best you can without feeling frustrated.
4. CLEAN AND TIDY
Keep your dedicated workspace clean, tidy and organised. A tidy workspace creates a calmer more organised mind. It also makes it easy to find things. When you’re trying to run your business buried under a sea of clutter it does not make for a productive, helpful space.
Clear up your mess. Keep it tidy and organised.
5. STOP THE SOCIAL DISTRACTIONS
Most people would probably be shocked if they realised how much time they spend being distracted by scrolling social. And there are lots of platforms that can suck us quickly in to their vortex, taking minutes and hours away from us each day and week.
As much as you might like scrolling mindlessly through tik tok or instagram, that type of activity brings absolutely no benefit to your life whatsoever, and it certainly doesn’t make you a more successful business owner.
Only you can make the choice to stop the scroll. If you find yourself spending too much time scrolling social platforms, and you’re not using those platforms in any way for your business (for research or posting), remove them from your devices to take away the pull.
If you’re going to scroll, I encourage you to make scrolling more about finding inspirational content that is aligned to what you do as a business, that’ll give you creative ideas for the content you can post. That’s a much better use of your social scrolling time.
6. STOP OTHER DISTRACTIONS
When you’re at work, you’re at work. No stopping mid task to go and empty the washing machine or laundry. No stopping mid task to online shop, call your bestie, put the bins out, cook a cake, flick through a magazine, vacuum the living room, or do anything else that is not related to work and the schedule you’ve set.
It’s super easy to let your mind wander to the pile of washing or iron that’s waiting, how untidy the kitchen looks, the shower room that needs cleaning, or the dog bed that needs airing.
That ‘life’ stuff should be done outside of your business work schedule, and you should account for your home and life tasks on your scheduler to make proper time slots for it.
There’s no point putting together a daily schedule for your business where you set out 8 hours worth of business tasks, when you need 3 hours of those 8 to focus on house and life stuff.
Be realistic. Know what time you can work on your business, and what time you need to work on your home and life.
7. GET UP HALF AN HOUR EARLIER
Every day I try to find time to learn because when I learn, I become a better business owner. Some days I can only find ten minutes or half an hour to learn, other days I find more time.
One thing I do regularly is use Sunday mornings. This is a time when the house is quiet, everyone is having a lie in, and I don’t have clients. So I’ll get up at 6.30am, (which let me tell you is not easy when I’m tucked up all cosy in my bed), but I do this because I know that between 6.30 and 8.30am each Sunday, I can do a whole lot of learning quietly, without distraction.
If you can get up 1/2 an hour earlier each day, that gives you an extra 3.5 hours over the week to on your business, and if you’ve planned that time out properly – you can get an awful lot done in 3.5 hours.
Whether you get up half an hour earlier, stay up half an hour later, or go to your workspace when everyone else is watching pointless stuff on the TV, try to find those extra moments, get them on your schedule and use them to grow your business..
Every moment of time you can commit to your business should be scheduled.
8. MAKE THE MOST OF OTHER TIMES
I’ve talked about how multi-tasking is not good for your productivity.
But there is an exception.
Those times where you have other life stuff going on like loading the dishwasher, doing the ironing, putting clothes away, walking the dog, cleaning out the rabbit hutch, sitting on a train, sitting in traffic, sitting in the hairdressers – those are all moments you can use to work on your business or improve yourself as a business owner by listening to podcasts, watch business related videos, or read a business book..
9. GET DRESSED
I know it’s super easy when you’re working from home to drag yourself to your work space in your jim jams, slippers and bed hair. But it doesn’t set a good precedent for your day at work.
You would not go to an office without at least making an effort to look tidy – and you should have the same sort of standards for your biz.
Dressed down is fine. But make the effort to show up to your workspace looking ready for work, rather than looking like you’re going to have a duvet day.
10. DOWN TIME
I know I’m pushing you hard. I know I’m asking a lot of you. But with all that said, you do need downtime.
You need time away from your business. You need time for family. You need time for fun. You need time to chill, breathe, sit in a quiet space and meditate, exercise, do things you love to do away from your business.
Don’t forget to make time for downtime. Only by creating some balance in your daily working life will you maintain a strong mindset and a healthy body that will help you to keep pushing hard in your business to take it to success.
There you have it. Ten productivity hacks to help you make the most of working from home in your small business.
When you take time to get on top of your home/biz life balance, your business will work better for you.