Working from home sounds like the ideal scenario. You can relax, put your feet up and take a break whenever you like. With no boss, flexible working hours, no lengthy commute or late night meetings and the ability to plan everything around your business as you see fit; working from home sounds utterly perfect! That is, of course if you actually get anything done and make a business of your efforts. It would be far easier to lounge about watching daytime TV, Facebook’ing your friends, and drinking coffee. So what does it take to make a success of a home based business and why do so many fail?
Here’s my list of the top 10 distractions which are getting in the way of a successful business which you should be working on (instead of reading this!):
1. Your mental habits. This of course can encompass almost everything which stands in the way of your success. If you have habituated checking your email every 10 minutes, constantly replying to Facebook comments and checking your news feed, then you are not in control of your habits; you are being controlled by them. The trick to online success is making habits out of doing the things which will eventually lead you to success. Concentrate on money producing activities or you will find you day slipping away from you and your business will yield fewer results, or fail completely.
2. Facebook , social media, Google, Youtube – Yes the aforementioned social media platform will steal hours from your day without you even realizing it. Facebook has useful sides and is a great advertising platform both from a paid and free advertising point of view. However it also can have you hooked. Don’t log in unless it’s for specific business purposes. The same goes with using Youtube and Google. Just one little look can have you hooked for hours with funny (and irrelevant) videos!
3. Checking emails – this is an equally distracting habit which will drain away your attention from your business activities. A good rule is to check emails only twice a day at predetermined times. This will help you kick the habit.
4. Mobile phone – Another huge distraction when working on your own is a mobile phone. There are so many apps, games and features on mobile phones that they can easily keep you preoccupied all day long if you allow them to. Facebook and email can also be checked on your phone and if you have any other apps for social media and communication such as ‘WhatsApp’ you can have a hard time not being distracted.
5. Friends and relatives – As great as it is being able to meet up with friends and relatives during the day, it is well worth setting some ‘work hours’ where you concentrate on your business and exclude social activities. Before you know it you can be spending all week catching up with mates and being distracted from the job at hand. If they are not self employed like you they are probably on holiday which they are being paid for!! Remember you are not being paid if you’re self employed! Once people get the idea you are ‘free’ during the day they can be dropping in at all times distracting you from your business.
6. Tidying and housework – Although a tidy house is important to create the right mental space to work in, it can take over and you can easily forget to work on your business when you get so involved in the housework. A clutter free environment will help you stay clutter free mentally and work better. However, don’t let it become the focus of your day, endlessly tidying to a meticulous standard.
7. Computer games – Nothing will rob you of time more than a good computer game! Over the Christmas period I got back into Grand Theft Auto V and was astounded at how quickly the day went. If you’re a gamer only log in after you have worked on your business!
8. Random activities which produce little or no results – It’s all too easy to get caught up in the wrong kind of activities when working on an online business. I have done it and spend months working on activities which produced nothing in the end. Working on money producing activities is the best way to spend your time. However learning new skills and developing new habits with your online business is necessary, just don’t get caught up in endlessly ‘learning’ and NEVER APPLYING!
9. TV, of course – Watching TV has to be one of the most destructive habits for your online business. At home and surrounded by your creature comforts, and with no-one to stop you, you are rules by your habits. Whether you control your habits or let them run will determine whether you make a success from an online business or not.
10. Overthinking, overwhelm and indecision – It’s not easy running your own business. You are in charge. You make all the decisions. With the amount of information at your fingertips when you are online it is easy to become overwhelmed and discouraged. You need to run your mind in the most effective way possible. This means looking after your motivation and keeping your spirits high. I have spent many a day wondering how life might be different if I just took a job, did something else or changed my direction – often while staring at the screen! Make sure to take a break and do some regular exercise.
So, how do we avoid all these potential distractions?
- Make habits out of the things which will carry our business forwards, rather than the things which will hold it back.
- Take regular breaks and be aware of your mental state.
- If you start to flounder, take a break and get out of the house.
- Join a gym and work a trip into your routine.
- Write a list of activities which you need to do the day before and do them before you do anything else.
- Use an online stopwatch to monitor your activity – http://www.online-stopwatch.com/
- Don’t keep checking social media and emails. Only check at pre-determined times. e.g. 9am and 3pm
- Remind yourself of the reason why you want your own business regularly. Here are some of mine.