Those of us who sell online have an at-home job. Even those who have day jobs (like me) come home to their at-home job in the evening. There are many benefits to working at home. You can play your own music while you make creations, brew your own hot tea while editing photographs, and wear your PJs and slippers when writing your latest blog post. All the reasons people dream of quitting their day job and working at home are real, and wonderful. However: a million distractions are part of the package.
Admittedly, I can get a lot more work done in a shorter amount of time at my day job. I work in an office as a graphic designer. So while I’m on the computer all day, there is an employee filtration system that does not allow me to go on Facebook or Twitter; even Etsy is blocked as “shopping.” When I’m at home, working on my handmade business, I often take the time to check my business AND personal social networks, make myself a snack or two while clicking over to hulu to watch the latest episode of Once Upon A Time. I get distracted doing my OWN shopping on Etsy rather than working on getting buyers to shop from ME. I may linger on some blogs more than I should, and spend a little too much time in those internet forums that I first joined as a means of getting my shop out there.
Before I know it, it’s gotten late, and I still have items to package, photographs to take, and descriptions to write. Not to mention, the project I am halfway through and was planning on working on… where did all of the time go?
While social networking is a great way to promote your business (and it’s free), it can easily take away too much of your time from creating. Because working from home is a much-less disciplinary environment than a day job, its up to you to try to manage your time most efficiently. If you think you are spending too much time on Facebook and twitter, figure out where you can cut back. Write several posts and add them to bufferapp.org one or two days of the week, that way you can avoid the sites for more than a quick check-in for the rest of the week. Designate a time schedule for the events you need to accomplish, it can be loose, but structured.
For example, if your at-home job is your full-time job, then you can give yourself a half an hour for Facebook & Twitter (no more!), 4 hours for creating, 1 hour for photographing and editing, 1 hour for adding new draft listings and live listings, a half hour for packaging (if items sold that day), 1 hour for blogging/research. This equals 7 hours, so that you have an additional hour for whatever activity needs a little bit more time to spill over.
Obviously, if you are like me and have less time to dedicate to you at-home job your numbers will look a little different. Either way, it wouldn’t hurt to track how much time you spend on each activity everyday for at least a week. Are there areas that are taking too much of your creating time? What methods could you implement to make them less consuming?