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Balancing Home & Work: The Challenge of the Home-Based Business

  By Vishal P. Rao

With the holidays around the corner, you may find yourself
struggling to keep your home-based business and your home
life separate and running smoothly. And you're not alone.

Operating a home-based business has many benefits as you
already know, but its main drawback is that it often causes
the line between your work and your personal life to become
permanently blurred. Unlike those individuals who work
outside the home and who know their day at the office ends
when they get in their car and start the commute home, home
business operators do not usually have a definite end to
their day.

The reverse situation is also possible: they may not have a
definite start to their day either. If you have a hard time
breaking free of your work responsibilities or if you
sometimes have trouble settling in to tackle them, these
tips will help you bring both aspects of your life into

Separate Your Office From Your Home

If your work computer is in the living room where everyone
in the family congregates, chances are you are being
bombarded by distractions. Plus, when it is time for you to
relax, you may find it difficult with the computer right
there as a constant reminder of all the work you still need
to finish and all of the communications you still need to
respond to.

The answer is to set aside an area of your home just for
work. If you have an office or an extra bedroom where you
can set up your space, then you can block out the
distractions simply by shutting the door. Also avoid putting
anything in your home office that might prevent you from
getting your work done, such as a television.

If you don't have an entire room to dedicate to your office,
move your computer and materials into a room that is rarely
used or that is normally unoccupied when you need to be
working, such as a bedroom. Once you have separated your
home from your office, you will find it easier to stay
focused on your work but also to leave your work in its
space so you can relax and enjoy the remainder of your home.

Create Specific Working Hours

One of the best things about running a home-based business
is undoubtedly the flexible schedule, but it can also have
negative consequences. On the one hand, your schedule may
be so flexible that you only work 30 minutes a day or so
hectic that you find yourself working at all hours of the
day without taking a break.

The answer is to set your own office hours. Creating your
own schedule still has benefits. For one, you can decide
what time of the day you start, so if you're not a morning
person, you don't have to get up at the break of dawn. Also,
if you prefer to stop working when your children come home
from school, you can consider that when you decide when to
stop for the day.

Another benefit is that you provide clients and customers
with a specific times when you are available to work with
them. The most important thing to remember, however, is to
set hours for yourself that you can live with. Once you
decide on a schedule, you need to stick with it long-term,
so be realistic about how long you can work without taking a
break and how much time you'll need to accomplish everything
that needs to get done.

And, no matter how much you may be tempted to keep working,
you need to stop when you say you are going to stop. Taking
a break allows you to come back refreshed and more alert, so
you can be more productive. An overworked, overly stressed
person simply is not an effective worker at home or in an

Draw the Line Between Home and Work Communications

Has this ever happened to you? You and your family have
just sat down for a dinner around the table when a client
calls to talk about your current project or a customer
phones with questions about a recent purchase.

The easiest way to prevent work from interfering with your
family is to keep communications separate. Start by having a
second phone line dedicated to your work and attaching an
answering machine or voice mail to the line.

When your work day ends, you can turn on the machine and let
it handle any after-hour calls. An extra phone line also
allows you to maintain professionalism. Imagine the
embarrassment of having your young child answer the phone
when an important customer calls.

You may also want to set up a post office box for all of
your business-related mail. Not only will this prevent your
important mail from accidentally getting thrown away with
the junk, but it will also offer you and your family a level
of privacy.

After all, you do not want to make your home address
available to everyone; it's just not safe. If you use email
or instant messaging as part of your business
communications, you'll also want to establish separate
accounts for those as well.

The key to running a home-based business is balance. While
it may be difficult to stop working on that important
project or to concentrate on work while your preparing for
the holidays, striking that balance is essential for your
well-being, your family's security, and your business's
About the Author
Vishal P. Rao is the editor of Home Based Business
Opportunities - A website dedicated to opportunities,
ideas and resources to make money from home. Visit him at:




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