Effective work habits are important to small business success. If you waste time, are unproductive and lack organization and time management skills, you won't serve clients and customers well. In time, you'll get discouraged and feel like giving up. You don't have to go down that road, if you're willing to improve your work habits.
1. Work with Limited Interruptions
As a work-at-home mom, the best time to work with limited interruptions is when your children are asleep. Whether you start your work day late at night or very early in the morning is up to you. If you're a morning person, don't try working a "night shift," because that's not sustainable. That doesn't guarantee that you won't get interrupted by emergencies, such as a toddler vomiting due to the flu, or a crying baby who is teething. You'll get more work done and think clearer though with little or no interruptions, and your goal should be to arrange you work schedule to make that happen.
2. Stop Checking Email All Day Long
Email can be addicting if you're bored with work. Receiving and responding to emails from customers, vendors, other business owners and suppliers is key to small business success. However, emails can be distracting, even when they're business related. If you run the kind of business that demands that you check emails frequently, try to schedule that task for the top of each hour. Don't check it every five minutes. You won't be productive, and that's time that you could allocate to important business tasks, such as a marketing.
3. Keep Paperwork Organized
You have to handle a lot of paper as a business owner, from bills to contracts. It's easy to get bogged down in all that paperwork, which depletes your energy and interferes with your ability to focus. Buy filing systems, plastic bins and boxes to keep paperwork stored and out of sight. You can find great deals at yard sales, but don't wait too long to find what you need. Make a decision as soon as you receive a piece of paper, as to where to put it. The trash bin should be one of your options.
4. Don't Make Personal Calls
You wouldn't make personal calls during work hours if you were working for an employer. Don't do it at home either. Make a list of people to call as they come to mind when you're working, but resist the temptation to pick up the phone and call them. Wait until you've met your goals for the day and completed your work. What you think is a five minute call, may turn out to be a one hour call. Apply this rule to calling banks, stores and other places that involve personal matters. There are even some business calls that you should put off until you're done with work. Use your judgment on those.
Simple work habits such as these can amount to small business success. Master each of these, and you'll see results in the short term.