5 Easy Steps to Separating Your Personal Life from Your Business
If you work from home, chances are you already know that you’re really pulling “double duty”.
You probably work on your business while doing the laundry, corralling the kids, or fixing dinner... and let’s not forget all the phone calls from family and friends expecting you to run errands or just "go out" for an afternoon of fun.
One of the hardest parts of running a home business is separating your work from your family and social life.
Here are FIVE proven ways to keep your home life running smoothly while keeping your business on track.
1 Create a work schedule and stick with it. It may be tempting to answer personal calls during your work time or take business calls after-hours, but doing this actually shows that you’re expendable – not dependable – and people will take for granted that you’ll “always be there” for any little things that come up. Even though family comes first, stay true to your business hours and resist the urge to chat with friends or pick up shopping during the hours you have carved out for work (reminder: you get to choose these hours)
2 Our friends may consider “working from home” an invitation to chat during the day or just go out for coffee or shopping for an afternoon. Make it clear that your work hours are limited, and you need to meet outside of them. Creating your boundaries and sticking to them are crucial for this.
3 Just because you have to set up a work schedule, doesn’t mean that you have to keep the same hours as everyone else. One of the benefits of working for yourself is setting your own hours to fit your most productive times. Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, you’ll find that you’ll get much more done when you’re attuned to your body’s own natural rhythms. Some people work in the morning, take a break in the afternoon when the kids are home from school, and work again in the evening. Schedule your work time when you feel the most productive and you’ll find that things get done easier, faster and better than when you were dragging along during those same rigid work hours that everyone else has.
4 If getting after-hours business calls or work day personal calls is a problem, it could help to have a separate business phone line, or at least an answering machine or voicemail, to take the incoming calls. This also gives your business a more professional appearance. Be mindful about responding to people on social media late at night, as they may start expecting instant replies out of hours.
5 If at all possible, try to separate your “home office” from the rest of your home. If you don’t have the luxury of a separate room, a room partition or screen can be just as helpful, or an area that you can have as “yours”. One of my members puts on a lanyard whilst she’s working, as a visual clue that she can then take off when she finishes work for the day. I find actually powering down my computer makes a big difference, rather than leaving it on sleep, which makes it too tempting to jump back in!
It’s up to us to run our business in a life-friendly way, and what that means is different for each of us.
If you’d like to learn more about the life-friendly approach, check out this free training