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Posted on May 04, 2011

Home-Based Business Advice: Winning the Tug of War Between Home and Office Life

Tug of War: Home-Based Business Owners Balancing Home and Office LifeWhen you run a home-based business, with your family and office under the same roof, balancing your personal and professional lives becomes crucial to your business success.  Not only do you have to sharpen your business skills — any time you waste during the day can affect your bottom line — but you have to hone your personal coping skills as well.

How do you handle this tug of war?  Anticipate the challenge and plan ahead!  Whether you're managing a home-based franchise opportunity or working from home on a small, independent venture, following these steps could help you meet both your professional and personal goals while maintaining your sanity:

•  Schedule regular dates with your family.  Take a weekday afternoon or evening off to spend time with your family, or reserve each Saturday night as date night. Treat this time as you would a business appointment and keep it.

•  Plan mini-vacations.  If you can't get away for longer than a week, take three-day or four-day weekend vacations with your family.  You'll get away from your office and recharge your batteries, yet not be away so long that it takes weeks to catch up on missed work.

•  Share a hobby or work out with a spouse or a friend.  Built-in pressure from someone close to you ensures that you'll exercise regularly, stick with a new hobby for longer than a month and meet goals that were too difficult to achieve on your own.

•  Stop bringing work "home."  If you have to work on projects after hours, limit such work to a few days each week.  You'll reduce the likelihood of "early burnout" and will keep your family happy.

•  Keep your personal and business goals in sync.  Take a close look at your To Do list and another look at your goals.  If the tasks on your to-do list don't match your goals, either change your tasks or reevaluate your goals.

•  Pay others for free time. Free time isn't free...you pay for it. Rather than waste time on personal tasks that someone else could do much better and faster, pay for your free time.  For example, you could hire a VA (virtual assistant), a personal organizer, or simply someone to come in a couple of hours a week to scan and record all of your receipts.  If you compared the amount of time it typically takes you to complete your most mindless or non-core tasks vs. the amount of money you could generate during that time, you may find that paying for free time is worth the investment.

•  Do something for you each day.  It's easy to get so wrapped up in your daily routine that you forget to take care of someone close to you…you. Whether it's reading your favorite magazine, getting a massage or even taking a walk alone, finding time to do something for you will leave you with more energy for everyone else.

For entrepreneurs running home-based businesses, balancing home and office life isn't easy. That's why it's so important to ask yourself if you're a good fit for a home-based business before you take on the challenge.  But for those who have already taken the leap into working from home, it's important to realize that it really is possible to enjoy both your work and your personal life without one overriding the other.  If you make an effort to schedule time with your family, your friends, and yourself, you'll have enough time and energy to enjoy all aspects of your life.

Bio: Lisa Kanarek is one of the nation’s leading home office experts and the author of five books including, Working Naked: A guide to the bare essentials of home office life and Home Office Solutions. She is the founder of HomeOfficeLife, a firm that advises corporations and individuals on all aspects of working from home and is founder of the blog WorkingNaked.com.

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