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How to Work From Home Productively

Sara works at My Indie Life Blog where she helps makers and creatives turn their hobby into business.

Get advice on starting a home business and ensuring that it's productive.

Get advice on starting a home business and ensuring that it's productive.

I've worked from home for myself for the last 11 years, and I often get asked how I get things done or how difficult it is to stay focused. So, I thought I ought to write something about it so that you can decide for yourself if it's something you want to do.

Working from home can be very rewarding. It has given me the flexibility to earn in a way that works with my own lifestyle, and it and can be a great option if you are starting up a micro- or cottage-industry-style business because your overheads are much lower.

Working for yourself does require a hardworking mindset, though, and this is how many home-based startups go broke. You have to work at it!

Ask Yourself: Are You the Ideal Person to Run a Business From Home?

To run a business from home, you need to be:

  • self-disciplined
  • motivated
  • hardworking
  • able to work towards goals you create to drive you forward

You also need to be prepared to dig deep when things get busy and work extra hours to get things done.

People who work for themselves often say that they work harder than they have ever worked before, and I'd say that's 100% accurate.

Balancing Work Life and Home Life

It can be incredibly rewarding working for yourself at home and really convenient if you have a small family. Sometimes, though, it can be incredibly frustrating—too many ‘life’ things seem to get in the way of your work, and people don’t always respect what you do!

How to Create Better Balance for Your Home Business

So how do you balance that? How do you create an environment where you can be successful at self-employment from home?

  1. Set Boundaries
  2. Plan Your Time
  3. Create a Better 'Working' Mindset
  4. Be Prepared to Learn
You need to set boundaries!

You need to set boundaries!

1. Set Boundaries

Setting boundaries early on will help those around you understand that when you say you are ‘working’, it means work, and that they need to steer clear and give you some space for a while.

You can do this very simply and without any need for bad feeling.

  1. Set your ‘working hours’ and let people know that during these times you will be unavailable for phone calls or visits.
  2. Set up a working area and let people know that this is your ‘office’ and when you sit down to work, you are not to be disturbed.
  3. Explain your workload to those around you. This doesn’t have to be a blow-by-blow daily accounting of your tasks, but let them know that you are coming up to a busy period and that you might need some quite time.
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By doing all of these, you are establishing polite boundaries with those around you. This should help them understand the need to respect your work time and will help you become less frustrated with their interruptions.

If you have a really young family at home, then you may need to ask for more support from your partner as they return from work, or you may need to work when the children are napping.

Plan your time!

Plan your time!

2. Plan Your Time

When you do get to work often you can feel overwhelmed by your never ending task list. So let’s make things simple and plan your time better;

  • Plan your goals ahead of time and break them done into manageable time based tasks, things that you can achieve in your working window.
  • Make sure to plan in important deadlines, so you can prioritise your goals.
  • Know your annual business scheduleknowing when your key selling times and production times are each year will clearly mark out your busiest working times.
  • Automate parts of your business - planning and scheduling automated messages from your website, email, newsletter, or social media will help you keep the momentum of sales and advertising whilst you are working on other things.
  • Having a clear offer, service and website: these will help cut down on the query emails you get while you are working.
Create a better 'working' mindset!

Create a better 'working' mindset!

3. Create a Better 'Working' Mindset

One of the most important things we can do to be taken seriously when working from home; by those around us and ourselves is to create a better working attitude.

You can do this very simply by:

  • Getting dressed each morning like you were going out to work.
  • Dedicating a space to work at.
  • Switching off all distractions.
  • Setting your working hours.
  • Devoting specific times for lunch and breaks.

4. Be Prepared to Learn

One of the keys to my success has been my willingness to learn.

In your business, you will wear every hat. One day, you are the creator; the next day, you are the customer service rep, the accountant, and so on. All of these tasks are skills you will need to be open to learning and improving on.

There is no manual or course out there that can mould you into the perfect business owner. You have to work at it.

If You Are Prepared for All of This and More

. . . then I think you have the beginnings of the right entrepreneurial approach to working from home.

Now you just need an idea!

Great Ideas for Home-Based Startups

WritingVirtual AssistantProduct-Based BusinessService-Based Business

freelance content creator

remote based PA

handmade crafts, or gifts

personal trainer


social media manager

clothing: vintage, or new


freelance journalist

customer service rep

beauty products

builder/utilities engineer

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2017 Sara Millis

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