Successful home business

Establish Structure in Your Home Business

by Joyce Moseley Pierce

When I worked outside the home, I had a pretty good routine going. I got up at 5 am every morning, pulled on my clothes, and headed out for my morning walk. I'd get home about 5:30, pray, shower, dress, and fix a protein shake to drink when I got to work. I drove 20 minutes to catch a bus and then spent the next 30-40 minutes reading my scriptures or writing in my journal. By the time I got to work at 7:30, I felt like I'd gotten a good start on the day.

When I started my own home business, all of that structure flew out the window! I still got up early, but instead of heading out for that morning walk, I rubbed my eyes and walked into my home office down the hall. I'd get so involved in checking email, working on my website, organizing paperwork that I'd totally lose track of time. Some days it might be 10 or 11 am before I stopped long enough to even go shower. My dream had always been to work at home in my pjs, but this was ridiculous!

At 11 am, it was too late to go for a walk. I needed to be making phone calls. Instead, I'd shower, get dressed, fix a bite to eat, and get back to my desk. My workouts became few and far between and the junk food I was eating at home was adding the pounds.

The day seemed to fly by. I was no sooner getting dressed before I would hear the garage door going up. That meant only one thing. My husband was home! I'd then make my way into the kitchen to give the appearance of starting dinner when most of the time I had no clue what I was going to fix.

It didn't take long before I realized things had to change. I am much more productive and satisfied when I have structure in my life, so I've set some rules for myself that I try to follow. If you find that you're not feeling like you've accomplished anything when you go to bed at night, you might benefit from some of these suggestions.

  1. Establish a time that you'll be showered, dressed, and ready to conduct business. Like it or not, it does make a difference in your professionalism if you are showered and dressed. At least be presentable enough so that if there's an emergency you can pick up your purse and walk out of the house.
  2. Help your family understand that even though you are at home, you are working. That means that if they expect you to do something during your established business hours, they need to reserve your time by setting an appointment. Of course, there are times you need to be flexible if you want to keep peace at home, but if you stick with it, they will begin to respect your determination to make this work.
  3. When you break for lunch, decide what you're going to prepare for dinner, so you can either take what you need out of the freezer or make other arrangements.
  4. Unload the dishwasher early in the day so that it is ready for reloading your breakfast, lunch and dinner preparation dishes.
  5. Make the slow cooker your best friend. It will save you time and money.
  6. Multi task like you've never multi tasked before. There are plenty of household chores you can start and come back to later. Use that time in between to work your business.
  7. Use a timer! I use the buzzer on my dryer to remind me that a load is complete. I also keep a timer on my desk. If I've got phone calls to make, I'll set the timer for 30-60 minutes and call until the timer goes off. When it does, I know that means it's time to move to something else.
  8. Keep reasonable food at home for lunch so you won't be tempted to go out. Don't try skipping lunch. It'll make you grouchy and you'll just overeat at dinner.
  9. Have enough sense to turn off the lights and go home at the end of the day, even if "home" is just down the hall. It's easy to let work consume your life when you don't even have to leave the house to do it.
  10. Keep your focus on what you're trying to accomplish. Realize that at times you've just got to get away from it to keep your sanity. Any job, in home or out, will make you crazy if you let it.

It's a wonderful blessing to me to be able to work from home. I also appreciate having the option of spending time with my family when I want to. I am able to satisfy my need to feel I'm growing and accomplishing with my own business, and if I ever miss the talk at the water cooler, all I have to do is pick up the phone or send an email to a friend.

Joyce Moseley Pierce is the owner of Emerson Publications and creator of "All They'll Need to Know."

Take the Next Step

  • Create a morning routine to get your day off to a great start!
  • Take a look at these Inexpensive Slow Cooker Recipes
  • Schedule, schedule, schedule - use timers if necessary

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