Working from home sounds like it would be stress-free. If you have ever tried it, though, you will know that is not always the case. Working one or two days at home is one thing. Running your own business from home on a full-time basis quite another.
If you get the balance right, though, running a business from a home office can work very well. You still must put in the hours, and you still have all the stress that any business owner has. But you also have a degree of freedom that you wouldn’t have if you worked in an office.
As well as making sure that you are productive, you must also find ways of managing stress. Having no one else around to let off steam to can make working at home even more stressful. More stressful than working in a crowded office would be. So, if you are new to working from home, here are 10 tips to help you manage the stress that comes with it.
1. Have a Well-Defined Workspace
Create an area of your home that is for work only. A home office would be best. But, if you don’t have a spare room, have a corner of a room that is your workspace. Defining your workspace will help you stay organized. It will also create a very useful boundary between your work life and your home life.
2. Stick to a Schedule
Working at home means that you don’t have to work to set times. Even so, it will still make your life easier if you work to a set schedule. Working to a schedule will help avoid you getting distracted. It will also help stop you overworking. Make sure that you take a lunch break too. There is an even greater danger of burn out when you are your own boss working from home.
3. Make To-Do Lists
Effective time management is essential when you are working from home. The best way to manage your time is to become a list maker. Start every day by updating your to-do list. Tackle the most difficult tasks first. Then, move on to the easier ones. If your list looks too long, you will need to prioritize. If you don’t complete all your tasks, don’t panic. Put the tasks you have not completed at the top of your to-do list for the next day.
4. Make It Clear to Friends and Family That You Are Working
Friends and family are likely to think that it’s OK to interrupt you because you are at home. You will need to make it clear that you work between certain hours. If you don’t make it clear that will be working, you will keep getting interrupted. That will increase your stress. Setting these rules is especially important if you have children. Kids can be the biggest distraction of them all.
5. Don’t Become Isolated
Isolation is one of the main causes of stress for people who work at home. Everyone needs interaction with other people. So, join a local business networking group and attend courses and conferences. Meeting other people in business will broaden your knowledge. It will also help stop you feeling isolated.
6. Don’t Take on More Work Than You Can Cope with
When you have bills to pay, it can be tempting to take on whatever work comes your way. Be careful, though, that you don’t take on more work than you cope with. Be wary, too, of taking on work that doesn’t pay very well. If you take on a large, low paid job today, you may not have the time available to accept a better-paid job tomorrow.
7. Ditch Toxic Customers
If you have customers who cause you problems, ditch them fast. A toxic customer will stress you out and that will impact on the work you do for other customers. Difficult customers take up an inordinate amount of time. You will be far more productive if you only work for customers who appreciate your efforts
8. Invest in Good Office Furniture
You can’t work all day long crouched over a coffee table. So, invest in a proper desk and an office chair. Buy the right equipment that you need for the job. It will make you a lot more efficient. It is important to take care of yourself when you work alone. You don’t have an office manager to enforce health and safety regulations. So, you must take care of yourself.
Physical exercise is mother nature’s own stress buster. So, don’t sit at your desk all day long letting the stress build up inside you. Exercise in the morning or take a short walk at lunchtime. A bit of exercise will clear your head, refresh you, and help keep the stress levels down.
10. Eat Well
Make sure that you eat a healthy breakfast and a proper lunch. Food gets the metabolism going and it will keep you alert. A healthy diet will reduce stress. If you are hungry, you will feel tired. Your concentration will lapse. Eating well will make you more productive and that will, in turn, reduce your stress.
Managing stress is important for everyone. Whether you work at home or you work in an office. When you run a business from home, you have no one to tell you that you need to take a break. You have no one to discuss your problems with. So, be mindful about stress, because it can creep up on you and take you by surprise. But, if you manage it well, you can turn stress into a positive force. Stress can be what drives you to make your home business a success.
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This has been a JBF Business Media production.