How to Make Working From Home Work For You

Four years ago I quit my day job to start my dream job – working for myself. My plans in college while studying entrepreneurship were to open a vintage clothing store, but five years later I had changed my mind and with my husband I started a vintage clothing website instead. It was a major change for me; I went from a job managing a store for someone else with a staff of thirteen people to working by myself at home in our second bedroom. Talk about an adjustment!

It took quite a while for me to settle into my new job. Being at home so much, I sometimes had the tendency mix in personal errands or housework in the middle of my work day. I realized that work and home were blending into each other more and more, and decided to set ground rules to put a stop to it.

Most of it was common sense, but to take a step back and look at your own habits and tendencies can be difficult. I incorporated much of what my previous job was like into my new job, and my productivity (and sanity) increased dramatically.

Below are some of my “Reware Vintage Standard Operating Procedures”. If you work from home, either part-time or full-time, try incorporating these into your work habits, and they just may help you with your business!

– Get ready for work. Get dressed, eat breakfast and prepare to go into the office. You may not have to drive to your job, but you still need to get ready for work just like anyone else. No working in your pajamas!

– Don’t let work take over your home. Try to keep an “office area” in one room, and make the rest of your home…your home! If you must sew on your kitchen table, do so, but put the sewing machine away when you are done. Making dinner will not be nearly as fun or relaxing if your machine is staring at you in the corner of your eye begging you back to work!

– Don’t feed the stereotype. You will undoubtably have friends and family in your life that will make comments that you don’t have “a real job” or that work can be put on hold at their convenience. Don’t encourage it, and always correct it. Your job is just as important as anyone else’s, and just as serious. Yes, you can move around your schedule if necessary, but don’t make it a regular habit or let anyone think it can be.

– Punch the clock. Set a time that you begin work, and a time you end your shift. When you are done working for the day, shut down your computer and close the door. You are done working, and that’s that!

– Take a lunch. It’s the law that businesses have to give each employee a lunch break and a 15 minute break for every shift for a reason. Everyone needs break times away from work to relax, reenergize and recoup! Take a lunch, and not hovered over your desk answering emails.

– Finally, get out of the house! A lot of women who work from home turn into hermits over time. Don’t be one of them. Make sure to get out of the house at least a few days a week – and going to the post office to ship out orders does not count. Pick an activity that will get you out and being sociable – Join a club, go shopping, or have dinner with a friend. You deserve it, hard working lady!

Have some other tips to share? Please add them in the comments for everyone to read and benefit from!

Crissy Herron

Crissy Herron is the founder of Indie Biz Chicks. She is the self-described "World's Best Aunt," loves Motion City Soundtrack, is awesome in the kitchen, and is a proud resident of The Mitten State. (that's Michigan, by the way.) And, oh yeah, she used to live in Alaska. (she likes the cold.)

  • Great post, Beth! We’ve talked about the “real job” comments we get from people before, so I’m glad you put that in there! I think a lot of people can relate to that!

    The only ‘add-in’ I can think of is to encourage people to become friends with other business owners. When Beth and I get together, we talk about all kinds of stuff – it’s never “all business” – but the fact that we can talk about business is great!

    Having someone to bounce ideas off, who can give you tips and advice, and relate to what you go through in your business is priceless!

  • My husband and I both had to make separate work spaces (we both work from home, he for a company and I am independent) because of the “work calling you back” aspect. We are still working on ending our work day at a certain time, though. Clients and his company think that they own us. It’s hard to say no!

  • Yes, excellent add-in, Crissy! I have a number of friends (you’re one of the bestest) that I know I can always have insightful and helpful conversation with. As a matter of fact, a big portion of my crafts have been inspired by or improved by ideas from my friends!

    It is hard, Megan! There are a number of times where both I and my husband have broken that rule. But I try to set a limit on that to only my busiest times of the year, and enjoy downtime as well!

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