Starting a home business can allow people flexibility and independence in your personal life. Be prepared to deal with your friends and family, though. They often take that independence to mean you can just drop your work whenever they ask you to.
“I can't tell you how often people have asked me to travel during a work day for a visit and seemed shocked when I told them I had work to accomplish,” says professional organizer
Alison Kero (@AlisonKero),
Her advice? “Saying ‘no’ is a powerful tool for any productive, successful person working from home, so learn to use the word and understand its effectiveness for managing your time, space, and life.”
After all, you could rely on Errors and Omissions Insurance to cover you for not meeting a deadline, but wouldn’t you rather just stay focused and get the work done? Here are four ways to say “no” to work intrusions.
Tip 1: Commit to a Work Schedule
“Be very clear about your work boundaries,” says
Liberty Premium Grooming Co
- Setting chunks of time aside for certain activities.
- Committing to saying “no” during those times.
“Whether that's a full eight hours in a row or two chunks of four hours, or any other combination, you must block off time where you will be productive,” he says.
Tip 2: Explain To Friends and Family You’re Unavailable
What about saying “no” to family and friends?
Marcia Layton Turner (@MarciaTurner), a ghostwriter and
Layton & Co.
, has worked at home for the last 15 years. She says the key is “explaining that you’re at work during normal business hours and that you’re not available to socialize.”
“You’re running a business and your clients pay for your attention to their work,” Turner says. “As long as you lay it out clearly, most people understand the need to hold calls to catch up until the evening or weekend.”
And if they can’t catch a hint?
“Don’t answer their calls or the doorbell until non-working hours,” she says.
Tip 3: Use Your Flexibility When You Want
Is it okay to do stuff with friends and family once in a while? Sure, says
(@eCleanMagazine), but it depends on your schedule.
“Since I'm my own boss, I can take off and do that if I want to. But not at deadline time,” she says. “I just have to remind my husband, friends, and especially my kids – who are home with me during the summer – when I need to work.”
Tip 4: Prioritize Work (But Leave Time for Fun)
It’s important to focus on the most important work you need to get done in a day, says Kero. But it can actually be beneficial to keep room in your schedule for some R&R.
“Leave time in your day for doing something fun so that you don't feel as if you're in an ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ phase,” she says. “It's amazing how productive you can be when you put yourself on a timeline and have a fun incentive for afterwards.”
In short: let your family and friends know that they have to wait until you’re done with your work priorities. You have an incentive to get done earlier, and they won’t bother you in the meantime.
Other Risks to Your Home Business
Pesky (but well-meaning) friends and family aren’t the only things that can get your home business off track. Check out these articles for more advice on successfully starting a home business: