Ahhh, the thought of working at home can be ever so appealing. In fact that’s why a lot of people go into business for themselves. What could be better than staying at home, earning money while you’re there, AND getting a few things done around the house as well?

However, working at home brings its own set of unique challenges. And in many cases, if you fall into the “work at home” trap, it can quickly cause you to lose productivity, and actually prevent you from creating a successful business.

Here are the top five habits I see that can stop you from building the business of your dreams.

1. Establishing work hours

Your home. It’s easy to slip into the office any time you choose. If the phone rings at 6 am, why not answer it? Production time at 2am when you can’t sleep – why not?

Working at home starts out with the best intentions. It’s easy to head out to lunch with friends, and shop during a mid morning when crowds aren’t as fierce. Yet if you don’t treat your business like a business, and set up normal hours built around what you need to get done, you’ll quickly get overwhelmed.

Do what’s best for you. If you are productive from 9pm to midnight after everyone else is asleep, by all means put that into your schedule. The key is to create hours that you can stick with day after day.

2. Creating boundaries

Your office should be your office. The kids shouldn’t come in to do their homework. Your spouse shouldn’t run in grabbing staplers, paper and books, and never return them.

Choose an area of your house, and make that your “office”. Establish your boundaries from the beginning, and make sure everyone understands it is your workspace. Shut the door, if possible, after working hours.

3. Establishing a work environment

While it may seem great to grab your laptop and work anywhere, any time, that’s simply not the best solution for long term.

The better your workspace, the more likely you will be to use it. Purchase a desk that motivates you to work. Hang motivating photographs on the wall. Buy a filing cabinet, desktop accessories, and shelving units. Make it a place you like working in.

4. Creating a healthy lifestyle

Because your office is at home, it’s easy to sit and work all the time. Some surveys have reported that a first year work at home person will gain up to 30 pounds. The refrigerator is too close for comfort, and the computer is always offering you a place to spend your extra time.

To stay healthy, you need regular breaks. Take a 60 minute lunch hour, and take the dog for a walk around the neighborhood. Sign up for a one hour yoga class at your local gym. Watch what you buy at the grocery store – if its not in the house, you won’t eat it.

5. Vacation time – time away from the office

It’s hard enough to get out of the house for a one hour yoga class. Imagine how difficult it will be to leave for a one week vacation. Since you don’t get paid for vacation, how can you take one?

This can be a huge mistake. A vacation does your body good, and gets you out of your normal routines. It also does you mind good, and helps you rejuvenate and increase your creativity.

If you are worried about week long ventures, try a weekend. Even two to three days can have a desired affect. The important thing is to get out of your home, and focus on something else.

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