You’ve kicked the 9-5 job to the curb and have joined the ranks of those blessed few who get to work at home. You crawl out of bed your first morning of freedom and are at your desk bright and early.

Getting started

You may already have your time planned but it you don’t, it’s a good idea to put some schedules and systems into place. Trying to accomplish things with a loosy-goosey day plan (which is no plan) isn’t going to contribute to your success.

Without structure inherent in a job environment, it’s up to you to impose structure on your own time. The easiest way to do this is to write a daily schedule.

Start by listing your main goals, then break those out into a task list. By assigning “appointment” times, or duration times, to each task, you can stay on track without getting lost in the many choices you may have.

Chunk it

A great way to accomplish a lot in an efficient manner is to batch similar work together. For example, if you have appointments out of your home office, arrange for them all to be done on the same day, thereby saving travel time.

You can also look after social media posts of all kinds in one session, say from 9:00 until 10:00. This not only focuses your attention on the task at hand, but it eliminates some of the temptation to click over to Facebook or Twitter to check out what your friends are saying several times a day.

Keep work in the work space

Regardless of what type of work you do, whether sitting at a computer, or sanding cabinets in your shop, it helps to separate home life from work by keeping work in the space meant for it. Believe me, if your work gets spread all over the house and your kids are moving your papers or tools, you’re opening the door to lots of family conflict.

Don’t eat at your desk, and don’t sleep in your office or workshop. Stop trying to do more than one thing at a time.

Beyond that, it’s a good idea to make it clear in your own mind when you are “at work” and when you’re home. While people often believe that the temptation is to do too little work when you work at home, for entrepreneurs the opposite is generally the case.

It’s far too easy to work all the time, especially when you love what you do.

In Part 3, we’ll discuss those pesky distractions and how to rise above the din.

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