Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Managing Yourself in a Home Office

For those considering the move to small business, the ability to work at home at any hour is an important consideration. I've had the pleasure of having my car in the shop for the last two days, which has forced me to work from home more than I have in the last few years. It is interesting how a couple of days of this bring back the challenges and the adjustments necessary to succeed in this setting. It is certainly not something to take for granted.

I am fully aware of its upsides--wearing slippers to work, cranking my favorite Pandora stations, going for a mid-day run, etc. There are several other negatives or, at minimum, double-edged swords. Some are clear--seeing the kids, random doorbell rings, etc. One that is often taken for granted, however, is the ability to stay focused and get work done.

For those of you coming from Corporate America, take a minute to stop and think about a day with no meetings. How would you utilize it? Specifically. It's a tougher answer than you may first think. Some struggle with limits on the above pros and cons. Others simply struggle with keeping their head down and getting productive work done. This point can kill an entrepreneur. Your time is more precious than you think.

I am no expert here and certainly have my own challenges, so this post is not intended to provide a magic recipe. 'Boundaries' is my one word of advice. Give it a day and you'll know what I'm talking about. As for managing your time, I can say that there are some useful points in a book by David Allen called Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. Some people that I know and admire absolutely swear by this book!

The important thing is that you find your own solutions. As mentioned here multiple times, small business has a way of permeating your life. In general, I find this to be a bigger pro than a con, as long as the business is one that you love and can abide having permeate you life. It is critical, therefore, that you find ways to be productive at home. So before you sit down with cell phone in hand and computer on lap, outline your plan for making sure that you can be your own boss and do what you need to do in that potential black hole called 'the home office.'

1 comment:

Greg said...

Solid post - Brother Steven Show'nuff has rubbed off postively. In all seriousness, very thoughtful. I wish I were in a position to worry about such.