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Ah! Isn’t autonomy grand? You own your own business so you don’t have to be in the office at 8 a.m. or feel guilty for leaving early for your son’s baseball game. And if you’re not feeling well, it’s so easy to ‘take the day off.’

But it’s really not that easy. Because nothing will get done in your business if you’re not there doing it. Granted, some people (maybe even family members!) think you spend all day in your PJs, watching TV.

The main problem with autonomy is it’s completely up to you to get your work done. As a business owner, you have to set your own deadlines. There is no boss looking over your shoulder to make sure you’re getting the project done on time. You’re the boss now.

So how do you manage to get your client work done, take care of your family and take care of yourself?

Here are a few tips to getting all done.

Have a routine

It’s important to have consistent daily habits. Go to the gym after you get the kids on the bus. That way you get your workout in before your workday starts. Start work at a time that you set for ‘being on time.’

Treat it like the real workday it is

If you’re like many small business owners, you work from home. It’s so easy (and tempting!) to turn on your favorite episode of NCIS at 9 a.m. But if you were in a corporate office, you wouldn’t do that, would you?

Treat your workday like it’s a ‘real’ job. Set a schedule and stick to it. Get dressed and go to work. Being dressed for work will help your mindset so you’ll actually get work done.

Stop working

It’s very tempting to walk back into your home office after dinner just to check your email. That will just get you sucked into more work and all your relaxing family time will disappear.

You need to know when to stop working. Just like having the flexibility to start working when you want, set a schedule to stop working and stick to it. There may be some times when you have to work late because a project is due the next day or a client can only meet in the evening. Those should be the exceptions.

You probably started your business to have some work-life balance. I know I did. Remember that and stop working at a reasonable time and spend time with your family and take care of yourself.

Use your calendar as a to-do list

Keeping track of all the things you have to do as a small business owner can get overwhelming. I recommend using your calendar as your to-do list to keep track of the tasks you need to accomplish each day. Set your tasks as reminders on your calendar and set the time you need for each task on your calendar too. You can even schedule lunch and breaks so you have time away from your computer.

Working for yourself from home requires discipline. Keep to a routine and stay on task and you have a better chance of your business becoming successful.

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