More than half of all U.S. businesses are based at home and an estimated 6.6 million home-based enterprises provide at least half of their owners’ household income. Together these “homepreneurs” employ one in 10 private-sector workers.
So how do we separate our home life from our business life?
Having a ‘separation of states’ for managing information (appointments, tasks, email, etc.) is a good beginning. If you can manage it, have a room designated as a home office and let your family know that if the door is closed, you’re not available at that moment. You can even put a “Be Back in 1 Hour” sign on the door! If you don’t have a spare room, consider a corner of a room and use an attractive room divider so that you have private space to work and think.
Conversely, we need to integrate our work and home life with as little confusion as possible – which is why Google is so popular. Personal calendars and business calendars can be linked and viewed independently or jointly (each calendar is a different color). When adding an event, view the combined appointment calendars to reduce the chance of double-bookings.
Google also offers cloud computing and on-line collaboration. If you’re working on a Word document or Excel spreadsheet, but have to leave the house, just upload it to the cloud and later you can access it from your smartphone to make changes and add content. Additionally, business and personal email accounts can be linked so you can ‘toggle’ on your phone to access each one separately even when you’re out of the office.
Cloud computing, email, calendars and smartphones have accelerated the trend of independently working from home. But if we want to be successful, we must stay in tune with both the big picture and details jointly for home and work.
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If you have any tips or favorite planning applications, I would love to hear from you!
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