Home Office

Optimizing Your Home Office For Business Blogging

Most people who run an online blog as their primary source of income tend to be home workers, with a dedicated space in the house given over to their office. This is a dream for the majority of people, as it frees up time for focusing upon work, while staying close to the domestic side of life which is close to all of our hearts.

There are a hundred and one benefits to being based at home. We can alternate between being in the office and catching up with chores, spend more time with our families, walk the dog in our lunch break and save time and money avoiding the daily commute to and from office premises. When we have things that need attending to urgently, we are simply a few footsteps away from reaching our desk and firing up the laptop ready to deal with them.

Home Office
Having said all this, many people actually find that they can struggle with the challenges which working from home may present. One of the main issues the majority of home bloggers encounter is the attitude of family members who don’t quite ‘get’ what we do for a living. We can be working as hard as we ever did when we were based in an external office, and yet the very fact that we are at home if our spouse or partner goes to work can mean that the balance between home and work is upset.

People who stay at home are often expected to devote as much attention to cooking, cleaning or laundry as they give to their business, which can make the role of self-employed blogger twice as hard as it should otherwise be.

Another pitfall for people based at home is the intrusion of domestic events in to our world of work. It’s hard to conduct a conference call when the mail person is knocking with a parcel, someone wants to read a fuel meter or the lady from next door has popped over to borrow something from us. These interruptions are rarely welcomed if we are in the middle of drafting an article, dealing with customers or setting up a new product or service for our business.

Overall, most people who work from home say that they wouldn’t swap it for the world, and yet there need to be some strict ground rules in place in order to maximize the opportunity and ensure that we can do everything which we need to make our business a success, without compromising it for domestic issues. Here are some quick tips for keeping your business working well, in the midst of a busy home life…

Have a dedicated space for your work if possible… don’t be tempted to blog in front of the television in the living room, or spread your work all over the dining room table each day

Make it clear to your family that you are working, when you are within your standard office hours. Nothing can get in the way of a good business more than the need to stop halfway through the morning to bath the dog, or vacuum the floor

Have a set schedule for undertaking business tasks. Having a rigid timescale for answering e-mails, publishing to your blog, selling or networking each day will really support you to stay focused and prevent you from straying in to domestic tasks

Don’t let your work spill over in to the evening. Just as you don’t want to be ironing in office time, so your family won’t appreciate you tapping away at your laptop when you could be spending valuable time with them. That said, I’m terrible at this!

Take regular breaks, but not necessarily to focus on domestic activities. It’s all very well scheduling in breaks from your office work, but don’t be tempted to fill your lunch hour with laundry, gardening or washing the dishes.

Do you have any other tips?

20 thoughts on “Optimizing Your Home Office For Business Blogging”

  1. Hi Joel,

    I admit that I have these problems in my life too and it seems impossible to have family members to understand that. Thanks for pointing out those tips. I’m sure they help a lot.

  2. Joel how did you know exactly the battles I’m fighting every day?!? I know that being super organized with my schedule would help the most.  It’s so hard to do on my own, and add in the 4 boys and wow.  Life is usually crazy.  I”m taking baby steps though. I’ve been hyper vigilant about using my calendar all summer, which is helping us stay on track.  I’m also maintaining my Jaw Dropping Todo list.  As we finish up the summer and get back into the school year I”m hoping this will result in improved productivity around here.

    1. Jaw Dropping To Do list?! Great name, I will rename mine to that! It gets longer instead of shorter, I think it’s magical 🙂 Glad you’ve been vigilant though, I’m sure the baby steps will all add up soon.

  3. I re organised my office and got rid of a lot of clutter, apart from anything else it makes you feel better!  Now my 3 daughters are home from University for the summer, and boxes have appeared with no other home and bits of paper start floating around the desk. help!

    1. I have boxes and boxes of things in my parents attic, that I’ve been meaning to sort out for 10 years. I think you’ll always have your kids stuff around, even when they have houses of their own!

  4. Thanks Tyrone. I run a paperless office, anything that is on paper gets scanned into Evernote and then recycled or shredded. Doesn’t take long at all, though the initial move did take a few hours to do, but the only paper I have now are post it notes and magazine articles to read. Quite freeing! 

  5. Hmm, Joel you’re definitely right with those points! That’s why having a dedicate home office space that’s separate from anything else is really the smartest thing to do because you can’t really get off with any distractions when you’re home! 🙂 I easily get distracted myself so since I’ve moved onto my new home office, it worked fine to let me stay focused during the whole working hours — and glad I outsourced a lot of admin stuff so I won’t get out of control with a lot of paper works around!

    Tyrone.

  6. Joel, I agree with your comments here. I wish I could have controlled my medical career as well as I can what I do from my home office. It sounds regimented but having a schedule and keeping personal time personal makes you more productive, I agree.

  7.  Joel,

    I have friends who think they can just turn up and expect me to drop everything…just because I work from home. Sometimes, I can…that’s the beauty of working from home and having the freedom.

    Sometimes I simply cannot if I am resolving a clients problem or meeting a deadline. My clients come first.

    I am lucky that my kids are older now and more independent. They rely on me much less which means I can have long spells of work with little interruption.

    My wife is a huge support. I think she must remember the days when I was working for corporate companies and hardly at home.

    Andrew

    1. You’re right, sometimes the benefit is also a problem, freedom is good but if that means people always know that you’re in a pop round, it can be tough to shorten their visit.
      I’d much rather have this problem than work in an office though!

  8. This used to work well for me until my daughter had an accident. Now I’m scrambling to shut down parts of my business, turn over other parts to support staff.  Now I want my business to be back on my schedule – not a clients schedule, so I can take time for my family when I want to.. not ‘after my clients’. so, great post, but remember that family always comes first.  then when it is work time, focus there.

    1. I hope things go well for you and your daughter! Family does come first, but I work because of my family too, so it’s often a conflict. But we do the best we can!

  9. I think I am going to print this post out and give it to my family.  Kids think I can baby sit anytime and now I am doing cleaning house and doing laundry on the weekends.  However I have to say, most evening I take my down time. 
    One problem that I do have is my desk looks like one of those people would say, “How do you find anything.”  have to work on that, if i was in an office i don’t believe that would be ok.  But hey, it is my business and as long as I know where things are, isn’t that want counts?
    thank you Joel love these tips for us home base workers.
    Blessing to you,
    Debbie

    1. I have a very tidy desk, though sometimes it strays out of control I have to admit! I’m not so great at the evening thing, I don’t really take my own advice a lot of the time. I guess that is what I strive for rather than actually achieve all the time!

  10. Dear Joel –

    My problem is friends who are not working who cannot understand that I can’t just “have lunch” anytime they want.

    People still do not take seriously the person who happens to work at  home.  They think you can always “do that later.”

    Later is not good for some of us who are morning people.  By three – I am pretty much tapped out because I start early and usually work through lunch.  

    The laundry does pile up, I will admit.

    Looking forward to your new book with Andrew.

    1. Thanks Corinne! I think struggling with other people’s expectations of what working at home really means is difficult with people who have never done it. 

      It makes some things easier, but just because I’m around for a 2pm movie, doesn’t mean I’m free.

  11. Hi Joel, read your post with great interest. Disorganized – in my early be-your-own-boss years I was a natural at it – took to being unproductive like a duck to water. Focusing on anything that I wanted to focus on for more than 20 minutes was close to impossible. My mind – self-mastery was a foreign word at the time – kept doing what it wanted. So I read the books and went to the seminars. Nothing seemed to work. I was in a constant struggle to get what needed to get done, done. That all changed a few years ago now. Now I’m a natural at focusing – have taken to it like duck to water :-] It’s a LOT more fun. Optimizing my home office was part of the transformation – but it runs deeper than that [for me]. I pulled it all together in my latest book – Leap Of Action http://bit.ly/eIwkZz [I’ll send you a phree copy].

     

    1. Hi Beat! Thanks for your comment. I’d be very interested in your ebook thanks. I do sometimes have trouble concentrating on one task at a time, and other times the opposite, a single minded dedication. Hours go by and I forget everything but the work I’m doing. Then a baby’s cry breaks me out of the spell 🙂

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