4 Home Office Traps to Avoid

The following post is from Lisa of Working Naked:

source: Zak Greant

Some people who don’t work from home think that those of us who do, sit in front of the television, surf the web or lay around the house all day. Those of us who work from home know that the opposite is true. Between the lack of a set schedule, no boss looking over our shoulder, and personal tasks screaming for our attention (including laundry), our homes are loaded with home office traps.

Before you fall into these traps, it’s important to recognize them. Start with these four common traps.

1. Working overtime

Without a commute and a home office that’s only a few seconds away, it’s easy to work day and night. You may even go to your home office and think you’re going to work for an hour, and then three hours later you’re still sitting at your desk.

I’m a reformed workaholic. Before I had kids, I worked seven days a week. Finally I burned out and took a week off. During that time I re-prioritized my life, cut back my hours, and actually became more productive. Set reasonable hours and not only will your family thank you, your mind and body will thank you as well.

2. Mistaking a work-at-home situation for a viable child-care solution

My neighbor’s twin boys nap a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the afternoon, so she has time to work in her home office throughout the day. She knows that in a few months, though, she’ll need to set up some type of child care. She has conference calls a few times a week and knows it won’t be easy to explain why there are kids in the background or why she has to push the mute button throughout the call.

It’s unrealistic to think that you can focus on your business and take care of your kids. Instead, consider sharing an in-home sitter, setting up a co-op and trading babysitting duties, or if budgets are tight, scheduling your workday around your kids. Keep in mind that if you choose the last option, you’ll probably work early in the morning and late at night.

3. Taking the wrong shortcuts

I’m surprised at how often people spend more money on furniture than they do on their home office equipment. If you know that you won’t meet with clients in your home office, invest more money in a computer with plenty of memory, and buy a high quality all-in-one machine. Keep in mind that your website usually is the first impression you give others. So don’t skimp on your website design and content, and design your site for easy navigation. Whether you design your site by yourself or hire a web designer, make sure your website clearly represents you and your business.

4. Not being taken seriously by friends and family

When I started my first home-based business, my friends and family asked me every few days to wait for the washer repair person, to pick up their dry cleaning or to take their kids to school. They thought that because I was home, I had nothing to do. I was spending more time telling everyone no than I was focusing on my business. I finally put my foot down and clearly pointed out to everyone that although I didn’t drive to an office every day, I was still serious about my business. Finally they understood that although I was home, I was working, and they stopped asking me for favors.

Working from home has its challenges and is full of traps. When you take the time to identify potential home office traps, you can avoid them.

What home office traps have you faced and how did you deal with them?

Home office expert Lisa Kanarek is the founder of WorkingNaked.com and the author of five books about working from home, including Organize Your Home Office for Success. Lisa works with entrepreneurs and home-based employees through seminars and individual consultations, to create functional home offices that meet each individual’s working style.
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