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Starting up and running a business from home can be beneficial for many people, allowing people more job satisfaction, flexibility, and choice over how they organize their professional life. Most of the benefits of choosing your home over an office or other workspace are financial – you don’t have to spend money on commuting, premises, and all the associated costs, such as insurance and utility bills. However, there are some downsides to running a business from home, many of which are to do with staying productive and being motivated. In this article, we look at how you can work from home efficiently.
Create a workspace
While it might be tempting to work from your sofa in pajamas with the TV on, this isn’t the most productive setup. One of the advantages of working from home is flexibility, but it’s crucial to establish a comfortable, distraction-free workspace. If space is limited, consider converting an attic, shed, or even a summer house. The essentials include a comfortable chair, a desk, adequate storage, and good lighting. To enhance the space, consider adding aesthetic elements like art prints, plants, or decorative pots.
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Inform the relevant people
Ensuring that you’ve informed all relevant parties about your home-based work arrangement as early as possible can alleviate stress. One crucial entity to notify is the tax authority to avoid inadvertent tax fraud or evasion. Depending on your business type, registration with specific regulatory bodies may be required. You should also inform your mortgage company or landlord, as additional insurance might be necessary.
Stay on task
While working from home, it’s easy to get distracted by household tasks like watching TV, doing laundry, or making beds. This can eat into your work hours, leaving you with unfulfilled tasks. To counter this, start your day by creating a list of tasks to complete, and prioritize them. This approach will help you stay focused and productive.
Take a break
While the potential to earn more might drive you to immerse yourself in work, it’s crucial not to let work encroach on your personal or family time. Overworking can lead to fatigue and decreased productivity. Try strategies such as the Pomodoro technique, which involves working for twenty-five minutes, followed by a five-minute break. During breaks, it’s beneficial to step away from your desk, stretch, or get some fresh air to rejuvenate your mind.
While engrossed in desk work, maintaining proper hydration often slips our minds. Although coffee may seem like a productivity booster, it’s not the best for hydration. A practical tip is to keep a large water bottle or pitcher at your desk and set a goal to finish it by the end of your workday.
Switch off at the end of the day
It can be tempting to check your emails before you go to bed quickly or to take that phone call just before you watch that show you’ve been waiting all day for, and before you know it, you’ve done another few hours of (often unpaid!) work. Set yourself working hours – and stick to them! Turn on an automatic out-of-office reply for your emails and switch the messaging service on your phone and deal with them in the morning when you are back at your desk.
“At some point in their career, many people consider taking their career in a freelance direction. There are pros and cons to doing so, but it’s the freedom of doing the work you want that attracts so many. If you’re thinking about launching a freelance career, you likely already know that it’s not going to be easy. It takes a lot of hard work to build an independent career, where it’s up to you to find the work you need to keep going.” – Invaluable Advice for Launching a Freelance Career
To try and save some money, you might want to try and keep all the tasks “in-house’ and do them all yourself. However, this can often end up costing you time (and therefore money!), especially if it is a task that someone else can do better. Many people can offer services such as photography, marketing, accountancy, design, and virtual administration on a remote, freelance basis. Give someone these tasks and focus on growing and developing your business.
Get out of the house.
Working from home can be incredibly lonely, especially if you are used to working in a busy and bustling office. Make sure you take time to meet up with family and friends to socialize and get out of the house for a walk or some exercise when you can.
If you have worked in an office before, you might be used to someone organizing a calendar or diary for you, so that you know where you should be or when things need to be done. When you are working from home, unless you have employed a virtual assistant, this is now your responsibility. Have a big planner on the wall in front of you, or a desk diary open next to you as you’re working, so you can be sure not to miss anything. You may also want to add things to a digital calendar, such as on Google, which you can access when you’re out and about.
It is also a good idea to devise some sort of filing system so that your desk or workspace isn’t covered in bits of paper and receipts. By filing away accounts, bills, customer orders, and other important documents, you will know where everything is when you need it.
Freelance to Freedom is the book on how individuals can reconstruct their life to create financial and time freedom.