How to Avoid Burnout in Your Home Based Business
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By Stan Horst
All Work and No Play: Finding Balance in your Business Endeavors
It seems to be human nature to do things in the extreme. I’ve got several friends, who like me, are the owners of home-based businesses. When we compare notes on our work styles, I’ve noticed that people are most often either workaholics or they have trouble staying focused.
Both are common pitfalls for home business owners.
On the one hand, it’s easy to get caught up in work when you have a home-based business. The office is right there, allowing you to work at all hours of the day and night. A quick phone call can easily turn into an hour long conference call. And if you’re lucky enough to really love your work, you may actually prefer working to many other activities.
Of course, when your office is at home, you’re subject to a myriad of distractions, most of them more interesting than the work at hand. The television, refrigerator or Facebook are common diversions, but household tasks such as laundry, errands and shopping can take up much of your work day as well.
As a home business owner, I usually err on the side of working too much. Occasionally, though, if I have a particularly difficult or boring project, I find all sorts of ways to distract myself from the task at hand. I once spent an entire afternoon sanding a storage bench for in the garden to avoid working.
Finding the perfect balance between work and play seems to be a constantly changing dynamic. I need to work enough to support my family and maintain my business. On the other hand, I want to spend quality time with my family and pursue hobbies and other interests. In my pursuit of the ideal home-work balance, I’ve come up with some rules for myself. They are:
Sit down as a family and decide on three core values that define your lives:
How does this relate to finding balance in work you ask? When you’ve clearly defined your purpose in life, it’s very easy to tell when you’re becoming unbalanced. My core values for example, are close family relationships, service to others and lifelong learning. If I’m working so much that these three core values suffer, then it’s time to reevaluate.
Set aside time each day for your family and stick to it:
Perhaps it’s important to you to be with your children before they go to school. Maybe family dinners are a priority. Make that commitment to your family sacred.
Make a to-do list for work related tasks each and every day:
Make sure the list is challenging, but realistic to achieve. When the list is done, stop. This strategy cues workaholics in on when to stop, and also helps loafers stay focused.
Divvy up household chores:
Sometimes other family members take the view that since you’re home, you have plenty of time to do the cooking, laundry and cleaning. Ask for help so that when you’re done with you’re work day, you can enjoy your family.
Enlist child care and housekeeping help:
Trying to work when little ones are around is an exercise in futility for most parents. You’ll find yourself in a constant tug of war between caring for your children and accomplishing your work. You’ll work faster and more efficiently if you have some help, even if it’s just for a couple of hours daily.
Stan Horst lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, where he owns a vacation cabin rental business and maintains a website dedicated to educating consumers about outdoor storage benches, such as outdoor furniture by Kingsley Bates. Horst enjoys spending time with his family outdoors hiking, camping and fishing.
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