Starting a business out of your garage or home office isn’t as easy as Silicon Valley
makes it look. Not only do you face an uphill battle in your particular
marketplace as a newcomer, but transforming your everyday living
quarters into the home of your new business can be incredibly difficult.
Your home has always been a place of relaxation and usually a safe haven from stress, but once you embark on your entrepreneurial journey, you seemingly give those qualities away.
Create a separate working space that can be closed off from your normal living area. Set yourself up in an office, basement or any area that is easy to close off from the rest of your home. This area will be known to those in your home as a “work only zone” and can convey the point that when you are there, you are working.
In this area, make sure you create a comfortable and functional work space complete with a comfortable chair, good lighting and of course, a computer desk that conveys business and comfort. By creating a comfortable working space, you will be able to focus solely on your business and push aside any confusion of the work/life line.
“If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.” – David Allen
Obviously a basic four-legged, single drawer desk and kitchen table chair will do the trick, but it’s important to make sure that your workspace will help keep you engaged. Additional options such as adjustable height desks, ergonomic chairs and adjustable lighting can help you stay engaged on your work when the day starts to labor along.
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of creating a work schedule. Maybe you don’t want to work your basic “9-5” – that’s fine, but make sure that your schedule is consistent and that each day, you know what to expect of your schedule. Plan to give yourself two 15-minute breaks each day at the same time and a lunch time which you regularly abide by. Setting these mental work guidelines will help you become more productive in between your set breaks.
Utilizing a whiteboard for ideation, planning and reminders allows you to layout any thought in an easy way that can be helpful to the more visual learner. Notebooks, sticky notes and computer notes are helpful, but both can be misplaced or ignored whereas a whiteboard is always in the same spot and easy to reference. This will also give you a chance to get up from your (hopefully comfortable) seat once in awhile.
By keeping tabs on yourself, you will likely be motivated by the idea of looking at a “Tasks Completed” list at the end of the day. This motivation will make you do more work and keep you from getting sidetracked.
Don’t put a TV in your office. Limiting your distractions isn’t easy to do with alternative entertainment surrounding you in your home, but as much as you can eliminate these possible distractions the more work you will be able to accomplish. It may seem very miniscule, but even leaving on the morning news in your office can severely limit your progress on daily tasks.
“Work is hard. Distractions are plentiful. And time is short.” – Adam Hochschild
Set boundaries with your family, significant others and even pets. To your family or significant other, “being home” all day might make the work/life line a bit blurry so be sure to set the boundaries early.
A good rule of thumb is that your office is your workplace and during your set work hours, you are actually at work. Setting these boundaries will allow you to complete your daily work without being bothered with things that you wouldn’t have to do while working at an office.
Overall, working from home is a great opportunity, and sometimes the only option, for entrepreneurs looking to make a name for themselves. The best part about starting your own business is that your business will only work as well as you do. Success and failure is in your hands and if you have a difficult time working in your home, you business could suffer.