A home-based business can be fulfilling and financially rewarding. Most people who launch a home business are initially filled with enthusiasm and energy, but unless they take care of themselves, the long hours and stress can take a toll on their physical and mental health. Furthermore, intensely focusing on their business can lead them to neglect certain tasks that could help reduce the need for home repairs or that could enhance the health of the home’s environment. Your health and your home’s health can impact the success of your business. Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to look after yourself and your home even on your busiest days.
Review and Revise Your Current Plan
1. Many entrepreneurs start a home-based business on a part-time basis while they are still working a traditional job. If the business takes off, they can find themselves struggling to keep up with the demand of their old job and their new company. Planning may have been somewhat lacking in depth. However, even if you had a detailed plan when you launched your business, it may be time to review certain items and make a few changes.
Have you defined your work hours? One of the perks of a home-based business is that you can typically work any hours that you like. You can work days, nights, weekends, holidays, or any combination of hours. Unfortunately, many home-based business owners tend to work all of those choices. Six or seven days a week, they start work early in the morning and go until midnight. This does not leave much time for sleep, exercise, relaxation, or relationships. Your business is important, but so is your health. Define your starting and stopping times, including a lunch hour, and the number of days you will work each week. Naturally, you will likely find yourself having to go a little longer on some days, but you should try to keep to your schedule so that you will have time to take care of other matters.
2. Do you include breaks in your schedule? Try to take a real lunch break by having a nutritious meal away from your work area. If your work requires you to spend most of your time sitting, stand and stretch every hour. About every two hours, take 10 minutes to walk around your home. If the weather is nice, you can combine your break with a cursory check of your home’s exterior. Look for small issues that could create problems in the future, including missing shingles, clogged gutters, and tree limbs that are scraping your siding or your roof. Inside, you can use your break to wipe down your kitchen counters, dust your living room, unload the dishwasher, or any of the seemingly endless tasks that are easier to deal with in small bites.
3. Where is your primary work location? Sometimes, you have few options for placing your desk and files. If at all possible, keep them out of your bedroom. The last thing you want to see before you turn off the bedroom light is your work area. Many people find that it makes them feel guilty or stressed, leading to difficulties falling and staying asleep. Separating your working and sleeping areas can help you compartmentalize your life so that you can relax more easily.
Work at Eliminating Distractions
1. Unless you have the house to yourself during your preferred work hours, you will likely encounter distractions. However, interruptions can steal time that you cannot afford.
If you are just starting a business, consider using a service that will provide you with a physical address so that you do not have to reveal your home address to suppliers and customers. This can help ensure that you will not be interrupted by those who decide to drop by without an appointment.
2. Let friends, relatives, and neighbors know that you have specific work hours and are not available for unscheduled visits during those hours. Gentle hints may work, including hanging a sign on your front door asking that you not be disturbed or sending your personal calls directly to a voice mail greeting that relays the information.
3. If you are caring for small children at the same time as you are working, the issue can get a little more complicated. Although older children can grasp the concept of not interrupting you unnecessarily, preschoolers often cannot. With the growth of home-based businesses and freelancing, you may have neighbors who are also working from home and who have young children. You might be able to arrange to swap with one or more of your neighbors so that all participants get a few hours each day or a couple of days each week to work without distractions. For example, you could watch your neighbor’s children in the mornings in exchange for your neighbor watching your children in the afternoons.
4. Noise from normal household activities can sometimes be distracting. You could try playing soft music or nature audio to cancel out the noise. Many people find that white noise does not negatively impact their focus or concentration, but there are some who find any type of noise an annoying distraction.
Take Care of Yourself
1. Entrepreneurs tend to have more energy, ambition, and drive than the average person, and these traits can help your business succeed. However, your business cannot maintain its success unless you are operating on all cylinders.
Remember to schedule appointments with your doctor when you need them. For some, this may be an annual physical. For others, it may be an office visit every three to six months, especially if they are dealing with diabetes, high blood pressure, or another chronic condition. Think of these appointments as preventive maintenance for your body.
2. Get the sleep that you need. Most people need between seven and nine hours each night to be mentally alert, but your needs could vary.
3. Take the time to get some exercise every day. You do not need to go to a gym or spend hours on a workout to benefit from exercise. In fact, you can get much of your exercise while performing routine tasks. Walking your dog, scrubbing the baseboards in your house, working in your garden, washing your windows, scouring your bathroom, and performing similar tasks can provide you with at least some of the exercise you need. At the same time, you can also be enhancing your home’s environment.
4. Eat a balanced diet. When the kitchen is only a few feet away, it can be easy to rely on sugary or sodium-rich snacks to satisfy hunger. Stock up on fruits or other snacks that you like that are also good for you. Consider preparing a week’s worth of nutritious, home-cooked lunches over the weekend and freezing them so that you can reheat them later.
5. Dress for work. It doesn’t matter whether you wear jeans, a suit, or sweatpants as long as it is not what you slept in the previous night. When your day ends, change out of your work clothes. The main reason for wearing different clothes is to help your subconscious transition from work to leisure time. This can help reduce stress by sending a signal that you are now free to relax.
Take Care of Your Home
1. Not many people enjoy a poorly maintained or disorganized home, but they often fail to realize that they could be damaging their house or even their own health. Piles of papers can harbor pests, but they can also be time bandits when it becomes necessary to find a specific document within a towering stack. Failing to clean the filter on an air conditioner can result in poor indoor air quality that can trigger allergies. A small leak around a window can allow toxic mold to grow within the wall void. Letting lint accumulate in the dryer’s exhaust vent can cause a fire. Although you are busy with your work, if you break tasks into short, quick sessions, you will be able to take better care of your home without trying to cram too many chores into a single day.
Establish a list of tasks that can be completed in 10 minutes or less. Try to complete at least one task each day during one of your breaks.
2. Let tasks build on each other. For example, you might want to sweep the kitchen during one break and mop it during the next break. If you have a leak around a window and plan to fix it yourself, your first task would be to determine whether you need to caulk it or replace the glass. Your second task would be to determine whether you already have the caulk or to take measurements if you will need to purchase the glass.
3. Try to set aside 30 minutes every day for longer tasks. You could schedule the actual caulking of the window for this time, or you could use the time to clean out a dryer vent, scour a bathroom, or clean out your refrigerator. You could also use this time to schedule appointments to secure bids on any repairs your home needs or to meet with the contractors providing those bids.
4. Develop habits that can help you take care of your home. When you pick up a piece of paper, immediately decide whether to shred it, file it, or act on it. If you notice a spot on the kitchen floor while you are getting a drink, go ahead and clean it. Once trash cans are full, empty them before their contents wind up on the floor.
5. Seek help when you need it. At PhysicalAddress.com, we offer a variety of economical services that can help you operate your home-based business including a virtual business address. Explore our site or contact us to learn more.