When you work at home you have to take charge of the following and carve out a routine: –
- Other people who want your attention
- Domesticity; washing, cooking, cleaning, shopping and yes, this includes any men that may be reading this.
- Charging for your work
- Work on your business, not just in it
- Learn to say no
How do you fit all of this into your week?
Simple – one diary, paper or online, with everything planned in it. Two diaries, one work and one social, creates the illusion that there are 14 days in a week. Anything, anywhere that you have on a list, put into one diary, now.
No diary, no weekly or monthly plan is the direct route to disaster.
Keep reading and we’ll look at each element.
People time . . .
People close to you are more important than your work and they don’t have to take up more time than you can spare on a working day.
Check in with them over breakfast or whichever time of day suits you all. Openly and clearly discuss which times of day are best. Make appointments to talk to adults, be more flexible with anyone under 18. We do this in our household: “Can I talk to you at 9am on Thursday about the car service…”
Schedule discussions but don’t say “I can’t talk to you until Thursday”, say “Please can we take half an hour together on Thursday to discuss this properly”
Listening carefully is respectful, vaguely paying attention whilst continuing to work isn’t.
Domestic drudgery . . .
You have to eat and it’s good to wear clean clothes from time to time. Don’t pretend these responsibilities don’t exist and then find yourself rushing to Tescos at 9pm, hair standing on end. Face your domestic demons and get them down in your diary in one bulky chunk or for 30 minutes a day, whichever suits you and your household.
Charging the right amount . . .
It takes 2 men 3 days to dig a hole……….
In any week you can only work to 80% capacity. 20% of the time you will be interrupted by clients, research, book-keeping, invoicing, etc. So in a 40 hour week you have 32 chargeable hours. If you want to earn £600 a week divide £600 by 32 hours, not 40, to work out your hourly rate.
Working on your business as well as in it . . .
As well as doing the work you have to find the work and grow your business – websites, blogging, tweeting, networking, speaking to the FSB.
It’s tempting to tweet here and blog there. Instead, allocate time to protect your work programme. Some find it easier to do this at the beginning of the day. Others prefer it as a semi-leisure activity in the evening. Set a tight time limit and….write it down.
If you have the budget, it’s worth getting help from a small business marketing professional. There are really good ones to choose from here at the Micro Business Hub.
Learn to say no . . .
You have to protect your energy when you run your own business.
I start each year by scheduling in my weeks off into that diary, in ink, and NOTHING can change them. I say no.
Everyone wants to meet at your house and you are in the middle of that key project? Say no. (Or, ask friends to pick up fish and chips on their way round to your house.)
A new client wants you to do his work first/fast/cheaply. Say no, in the nicest possible way.
To create a homeworking routine you have to chip away at this list:
- Writing it all down, in one diary.
- Being clear with people you are close to
- Being realistic about your time and your energy
- Calculating your hourly rate
- Learning to say no.
Go, on. Do it now!
Today’s Micro Action
Consider your own homeworking routine and the list of five points above. Which points could you change or improve that would results in a better routine and a positive impact on both your business and home life? Take action on areas where you can improve – and get it all in the diary!