5 Productivity Traps Home-Based Business Owners Must Avoid

Once you own a home-based business, you'll discover all kinds of productivity traps. What do I mean? They're the things that pull you away from your job. These can be simple things like a ringing phone or barking dog. Or they can be tougher things like working way too much. No matter which trap you fall into, you can be sure that there are ways to get back on track.

Yes, you DO need a schedule

The biggest productivity trap is also the easiest to solve. It's not having a plan of what you want or need to accomplish each day. In "Side-tracked Home Executives" by Pam Young and Peggy Jones, this was referred to as "IGAD". That's the acronym for I've-Got-All-Day. You know... it's the feeling that you have all the time in the world so you'll get to it later. But something always comes up later, so nothing much ever gets done... day after day. Having no time limit or schedule can play havoc on your productivity.

Don't get me wrong, being your own boss and working at home is all about making your own decisions about what you do and when to do it. But you have to actually do something... not spin your wheels, walk in circles and wander aimlessly all day. Prevent this by making yourself some kind of schedule for the day. Use it as a guide.

Manage people and your time

People distractions like drop-ins, phone calls, and email. I screen phone calls. That's what voice-mail is for. I check my email several times a day, usually after meals when it doesn't interfere with work. But I work off and on all day, an hour or two here and there, until bedtime. An actual visitor tends to bite into my work time. I try to visit for a bit, then excuse myself with a polite, "Well, I've got to get back to what I'm working on." Most people are very respectful and don't want to interfere with your work.

Nobody's perfect... lighten up on yourself

Perfectionism. Is this really a productivity trap? Yes, if you allow it to paralyze you. It can be a trap for me. By comparing yourself to others, you often fall into the habit of finding fault in your work. If you have a boss telling you what to do, this isn't a problem. You have to get to work anyway.

But if you're at home comparing your blog, service or product to others that you see online, it can stop you in your tracks. It's easy to look at some successful person and expect yourself to be like that too... right NOW. You're not seeing them as the beginner they once were.

Nothing puts the brakes on doing something new and difficult (like starting your own business) like not allowing yourself to be a beginner. You're probably going through the normal bumps and pot-holes of starting your own business. It's easy to get discouraged and want to quit.

Don't give in to this trap... keep doing what you're doing. Believe it or not, you'll soon be the expert someone else is comparing themselves to.

There's too much to do

Over-scheduling yourself causing burn-out (AKA: too much to do!) You're juggling everything thrown at you. And there's more to do. You have all the hats on your head now, and there's still more to wear! STOP! Breathe. The solution to business trap #1 is this productivity trap's solution too. Make a list of all the things that you have to do. It's probably a long list. Take a good look at it. What has to be done today? Focus on the jobs right ahead of you. Rinse. Repeat daily.

Yes, you need time away from work

Not taking any time off from work. It's easy to get into the habit of working all the time. If you're like me, you LOVE what you do. That makes it easy to work too much. Maybe that doesn't sound so bad. You'll get lots done. Is it really a productivity trap?

Yes, because it can throw your life out of whack. (Don't you love technical talk?) And it causes burn-out that sneaks up on you.

You have to get out of your house (where you work) and do something not related to work. How about spending time with your family or friends? They may be worried or angry that you're working too much. Remember the old saying... "all work and no play makes Jack or Jill a dull person”? It's so true. Lighten up. Give yourself a little time off. You'll come back to work refreshed.

I'm sure there's lots more of these productivity traps for people that work at home. Each person will have their own problems to overcome. But I'd still rather deal with these in exchange for the freedom and opportunity of being an entrepreneur, wouldn't you?

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