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How do I stay business-like at home and avoid distractions?

Monday, 30 August 2010 | By James Thomson

Home-based entrepreneurs need to become very good at dealing with distractions. Yelling kids, family emergencies, and the old trap of the couch are all potential time eaters than can keep your focus away from you business.

Your main strategy in defeating these distractions is self-discipline and focus. But if you need a bit of extra help, try some of these bits of advice:

  • Put your office in the right spot. Placing your office near high-traffic areas of the house like the kitchen or lounge room may increase the possibility for distractions. An area that is quiet and a bit removed from the centre of your home is perfect.
  • Set clear working hours and stick to them. While flexible working hours is a key attraction of a home-based business, setting work hours may help you stay focussed. If this is a bit formal, try setting aside a period every day where you focus on a set task, such as talking with clients or making sales call.
  • Dress properly. Lounging around in your pyjamas or tracksuit doesn’t motivate you for work, so dress for success and make sure your head is in the right place. One entrepreneur likes to wear her high-heeled work shoes for client phone calls, just to put her in the right frame of mind.
  • Cut down on your web surfing. The internet can eat up hours of time that appears to be productive and isn’t, so be careful.
  • Switch off when it’s time to stop work. You wouldn’t stay at work all day and night if you worked in an office, so don’t do it at home either. Switching off when the work day is over will help you concentrate when you need to.