Working from home is easier than ever before, and many entrepreneurs find starting a home-based small business is ideal for them. However, staying on top of your work can be difficult when you’re away from a traditional workplace – and the attendant managers and coworkers that can help keep you in check. Here are some tips for keeping your home-based small business organized.
Stay on schedule
Working from home means the freedom to create your own schedule. However, there should be a schedule of some kind. Consider your non-work plans for the week and write them out somewhere, allowing for things such as transportation time and traffic. Consider how these plans will fit in with your upcoming projects and deadlines, and reference this schedule often. Making sure you actually have enough time in your week will mean you’re not pulling all-nighters two days before your next deadline.
Have a dedicated home office space
Part of the appeal of working from home is getting away from a desk or counter. You can email your clients from your couch, or create your handmade jewelry from your kitchen table. However, having a dedicated office space can go miles in helping your small business succeed. Find an area in your home – it doesn’t have to be large – and keep all your files and supplies there. This will ensure you’re not scrambling for a contract in three months’ time. If you hold meetings with clients in your home office, this space will hold a larger importance and should look professional.
Keep on top of your filing
Not only should you have a dedicated home office space, but you should invest in keeping it clutter-free and organized, no matter how scary it might look right now. Set aside regular intervals of time to review your files and recycle, scan or shred the items you don’t need anymore. And don’t forget about your digital clutter, too! There is nothing more satisfying than seeing your computer files arranged neatly in proper, easy-to-find folders.
Find organizational aids in software
Even if you’ve so far resisted the allure of the Blackberry/iPhone, there’s no denying that some technology can make your home-based business run smoother. As an example, I like FreshBooks for easy invoicing and time tracking. Whatever your small business, there’s sure to be a program that can help you stay organized. Ask your friends or colleagues what they like, and do your research before downloading anything (especially if it sounds too good to be true)!
For further reading on running a successful home-based small business, check out this recent blog post.