Last week in Tips For A More Productive & Happier Summer, I talked about how those of you who are run their business from home while raising kids, struggle when their schedules are forced to adapt over the summer vacation.
Sophie here, and this week I will be talking about obstacles of working from home. When it can be mentally hard to switch gears, the boundaries of running a household and running a business can blur. This time of year boundaries can also come into play if you give up our home office when family or friends come to stay with you.
Here are some suggestions to help you set healthily boundaries working from home, and how to adapt to change over the summer without it affecting your productivity and consequently your income.
How To Adapt To Giving Up Your Home Office
Do you have family or friends coming to stay over summer?
If so you’ll probably be giving up your home office for a few days or weeks to accommodate them. These temporary changes to our work environment can make us feel disorientated and a bit disorganized which can affect our productivity. Here are ideas on how to avoid that:
1. Plan Your Work Environment Ahead Of Time
A lot of us don’t realize how our work environment affects how you feel about work. If it ranks low in our priorities then it can affect our energy, our creative mojo and our happiness.
If you don't have access to your home office, try to avoid moving into your bedroom. You bedroom should be your sanctuary to relax in, and mixing in business can make it harder to mentally switch off. You probably want to avoid working from kitchen table as well, since this is usually the center of the home, and can have lots of distractions. Instead consider carving out some time to work outside the house at a local co-working space or business center. A recent study from Harvard Business Review has indicated that co-working spaces make people happier and more productive. We have found that to be true from personal experience, the co-working space Prim'd Marketing joined seven months ago injected new energy into our business, and we found partners, clients and mentors through it.
You may find that your local one allows drop-ins or has special offers on membership during the summer, as it is their off-peak time while a lot of people are travelling.
Scheduling at least one day out of the house to be part of an entrepreneurial community can inject new energy into you and your business. You may find that you are motivated by the people around you, meet other like-minded people on the same path as you. You can find on this subject in How To Connecting with Like-Minded Professionals.
If you're really struggling to keep your productivity up, take a day or two to examine what helps you get motivated, you can find some suggestions is How To Connect With Like Minded Professionals.
2. Set Healthy Boundaries With Your House Guests
It helps to be clear with your houseguests about how their time in your home will play out from the very beginning. Clearly communicate to them when you will be free to spend time with them and when you will be working. Discuss plans with them ahead of time or on the first day will ensure everyone is on the same page. Then continue to check in with them to discuss their plans the night before or over breakfast each morning as plans may change.
Explain what things indicate when you are working and can’t be interrupted, such as a shut door or when you are on a phone call. Some people are better at respecting boundaries than others, but it helps to kindly set them from the get-go to avoid any misunderstandings.
On the subject of boundaries, the boundaries of running a household and running a business can blur. Here is a suggestion to help you switch gears from one set of responsibilities to the next and be better organized in the process.
Keep life & work stations separate
During my first year of running a business from home, a pile of unpaid bills and other personal related paperwork started to grow on my work desk. They kept being pushed aside and work commitments would take priority. I realized that when I was in work mode I found it hard to shift from one mindset to the next. Even when the task of dealing with home related admin seemed so similar.
I was talking to my friend Megan about this struggle and she confessed to having the same problem until she made a physical change to her household that resulted in a mental shift. She recommends having two separate desks in different parts of the house, where you can deal with two sets of tasks separately.
It can become too much for the brain to jump from a work task to personal task and then back again, and in turn effect productivity. Having a home admin station separate from my work desk, keeps me sane and more focused. Now I can compartmentalize my personal life and work responsibilities, rather than juggling them both at the same time
Nowadays, I run my business from my home office upstairs during the day. In the evenings or weekends I sit downstairs to pay bills, deal with school related admin and wrap my head around my kid’s schedules (in front of a family calendar). I have also found it beneficial to organize the two sets of paperwork in two different places rather than in one combined filing cabinet.
Do you find it mentally challenging to switch gears from personal to business responsibilities when working from home? How have you overcome any struggles working from home? If you are part of a co-working community we would love to hear about it!
Get FULL Access to our Resource Library
Get FULL ACCESS to our curated and most powerful worksheets!