Working in Bunny Slippers, Part 1



Time Management for Entrepreneurs,
Contractors and Freelancers


A Guide for Working in a Home Office

Working for yourself takes a leap of faith. I’ve been there and convinced that I would succeed, jumped into entrepreneurship with little thought or planning. I’ve made all the mistakes you can think of and invented others. Along the way I’ve learned what works and I’d like to share some points with you.

Let’s start with the basics before we talk about techniques to master or manage your time.


Office Set-Up

You can’t manage your time if your office isn’t set up for your needs.

“I’ve got my computer and printer. What more do I need?”

Does your computer have the software that you need? Do you have an adequate supply of paper? Do you have extra ink cartridges for your printer? Do you need to set up a filing system for hard copies? Do you have enough shelf space? What about your phone system? Do you need a landline? Are you relying on your cell phone or Smartphone? Markers, highlighters, pens, pencils, all need to be at your finger tips. What about business cards? If you need to order make sure it’s a Pocket Resume, a two-sided card for networking purposes. Will you be shipping a product? Have you set up an account with UPS or FedEx? Are you set up with envelopes, boxes, tape? Are you set up with PayPal? Do you have an account with one of the major credit card companies? Are you set up to accept credit cards and run your business on your devices even out of the office?

You don’t want to have to run out at the last minute to buy supplies when you’re under a deadline. Keep a running list of needed supplies and every time you’re down to one last battery, ink cartridge or ream of paper check it off and plan a trip to buy supplies.


One of My Learning Experiences

I owned a corporate gift and gift basket company for several years, running it from a home office with my garage as my workspace and warehouse. It was perfect until my first holiday season. It was too cold to work in the garage and I had so many orders to fill that I needed to create, wrap, decorate, box and ship from my dining room. It seemed to be fairly straight forward and efficient except that I hadn’t taken into consideration my two Siamese cats.

Did they love the packing peanuts and cartons? Yes. Did I almost pack them? Yes. Did I find packing peanuts throughout the house until Valentine’s Day? Yes. I was set up for what I thought my needs would be. By the second day the cats were shut in a bedroom with their own boxes and ribbons to play with and I was able to get on to the business at hand.

Think of your first year as a learning process. Learn what works for you and what doesn’t work for you. Be flexible. This leads me to the hardest part of working in a home office – distractions. Better known as family and friends.


Office Rules and Flexibility

Family and friends need to be aware that you are “at work.” You might be working out of your den or a spare bedroom or your garage, but you are working just as if you were in an office surrounded by colleagues.

Set regular office hours. Set time for breaks/lunch. Arrange a specific time to accept or make calls to family and friends. I call my mom every morning prior to starting my day. However, your schedule may not be the same every day. Be flexible and plan ahead to make sure you can meet all of your deadlines and still have time to spend with your family.

When my daughters were young they knew not to come in to my “office” unless it was urgent. Of course what’s urgent to an adult is quite different from what is urgent to a 6 year old but we all survived.


Make Organization a Priority

To be productive you need to be organized. Searching to find a lost login, password or missing document can take away the time you have available to actually get work done.

Successful entrepreneurs make organization a priority. There are all kinds of time management/organizational tools. Over time you will be able to develop your own systems, create your own spreadsheets and templates. You should have a way to track incoming items, manage current projects and existing documentation, and schedule regular follow up once each of your projects is completed without losing any important information throughout the process.
(See apps and website list in Part 2)

When you absolutely have to get work done put up a “Do not disturb” sign.

Don’t let the common distractions sidetrack you. There are no good fairies to fold your laundry. It will still be there at the end of the day waiting for you. Once you become successful then you can hire a good fairy to fold your laundry.


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