Working from home gives you the opportunity to create a life that is much different than what “normal” people experience, but it also comes with it’s own challenges. As a work from home father, I can assure you that one of the most amazing blessings is being able to be a work from home dad, but I discovered that there are some real challenges when working from home. Here’s 3 of my best tips for getting your family business running smoothly at home…
1. Have Good Boundaries
When you work a regular job, there are a lot of built-in boundaries. You get up, dressed, and go to work… so you’re spouse and children automatically knows “Dad’s not here now”. But when you work from home you don’t have this obvious boundary. This leads to numerous interuptions and entanglements. So what you have to do is create healthy boundaries for your work time. For example, my home office used to be inside the house. I finally decided to finish off part of the garage and I moved my office out there. I almost instantly improved my performance. So look for ways you can have healthy boundaries. It may be as easy as just communicating with your spouse and kids that while you are at your desk you’re unavailable.
2. Run your business – Don’t let your business run you.
If you’re not careful it’s really easy to let your business run you into the ground. For example, when you’re working from home you usually use your cell phone as your primary line. Often your cell phone will ring during your family time. Again it’s very important to have healthy boundaries. And that means creating space for your personal life without interruption. During meals I just leave my cell phone in my office. It’s important to be present when you are with your loved ones.
Email and Cell Phones should not always require your immediate attention, so be sure to have your working hours in your voice-mail and in your email signature. It let’s people know when they can reach you. You wouldn’t go to the bank at 9pm and wonder why they weren’t open… and you shouldn’t let people expect that they can reach you any time THEY want either.
3. Work Hard – Play Hard.
I’m kind of a feeling oriented personal, and when i was working I would feel guilty because I wasn’t doing something with my family, and when I was with them I would feel like I needed to be creating more income. If you struggle with that, then it’s time to get off that train right now. Again, it all comes down to boundaries. You can only focus on and do one thing at a time. Personally I have found that if I will work hard without distraction during my work time, then it’s easier to focus completely on the people I care about when I’m with them.
If you’re not careful your business starts running you into the ground, and you wonder if it would be better to have a regular job. Having healthy boundaries will help you get more out of your work and your personal time.