Staying Sane in a Home Business - An "Overload" Rescue Plan
By Charles Hopkins
Published 04/20/2006 | Home Based Business
At last, you have achieved your dream. You've escaped the traditional, away from home work force and are now self-employed.
There you sit, in your spiffy new office - whether it's in the corner of the sitting room or in a converted bedroom - surrounded by your equally spiffy new toys...your computer, desk and some strategically placed shelves.
Your new multi-function center will print stuff, fax stuff and copy stuff. (It won't hang out the washing, but hey, you can't have everything.)
You've even got work coming-in and the immediate worry about making a living has vanished. Hooray! You really can work from home!
At first, working at home is pure bliss. Then you get a week when everybody and their dog seems to want your services. After putting in a few late nights, you meet all the deadlines and think; phew...I'm glad that's over! You decide to relax and give yourself a day off. After all, you worked all through the weekend and earned it, right?
Unfortunately, the following week you find yourself off to a bad start trying to make-up for your day off. Before you know it, you find that you're dropping further and further behind. You reflect gloomily that when you were working for someone else, at least at the end of the day you were finished...what didn't get done didn't get done!
Well, it's time to take heart and set a few simple strategies in place that will keep you in control of your time...and your sanity.
=== 1. Do NOT Accept Any New Work This Week. ===
Take a good look at what you have on your plate now, and carefully plan the week ahead. Your aim is to regain control. Tell new clients that you are fully booked, but you can put them on a priority list to be phoned next week. (This will not only allow you to catch up, but make your services appear highly in demand.)
=== 2. Build In Time For Leisure and Rest. ===
Not only for this week, but EVERY week. A half hour walk; a twenty-minute break in the sun with a cup of coffee; a quick swim or a movie outing with friends - all these activities can recharge your batteries. You will find that you can achieve far more when you are rested and alert. (How many times have you sat at the computer staring at the screen, achieving very little, because you're over-tired?)
=== 3. Tackle Urgent Tasks First. ===
If you're behind, your first step must be to contact all clients and arrange firm new deadlines. Make sure you base these new deadlines on what you CAN achieve, not what you HOPE you can achieve. If any existing client needs your services or products urgently, bump them up the queue.
=== 4. Prioritize Remaining Tasks. ===
Scrap anything that is not essential, and delegate what you can. Consider involving family, business associates or friends to handle some tasks. (Warning: do not hand over tasks that must be carried out only by you as the principal of the business. Your reputation is important.)
=== 5. Set Achievable Daily Goals. ===
If you finish a task ahead of schedule, begin the next... but adhere to a definite cut-off time each day. What you are doing this week is establishing a system that will continue to work for you.
Getting out of trouble when your business is in overload is just like getting out of debt. Your business rating is similar to your credit rating - nothing can be gained by denying that a problem exists. Nothing can be gained by slipping deeper into the mire. Call a halt; contact the main players; set workable strategies in place and you can quickly regroup.
Before you know it, your home business dream will be on track once more.