Did you know that having an online business has lots of advantages for you? Online business owners can save a ton of money on gas, and they don’t have to worry about dressing a certain way for work. All that is needed is to designate work time for your business. They can even take their work with them anywhere they go, as long as an internet connection is available.
But every type of business has its pitfalls, and online businesses are no exception.
One of the biggest challenges that online business owners face is staying on task. The internet is a big place, so to speak, and it is full of distractions. There are forums, chatrooms, and blog conversations to participate in. Then there are friends and family to send instant messages to. And don’t forget about those emails to check! The list goes on and on. And I’m sure you have a big checklist of things to do for your clients as well!
It’s very easy to get sidetracked when you work online. But it is important not to let distractions affect your productivity. Even if you’re not getting paid by the hour, time is still money.
So how do you designate work time for your business? Do you set aside so many hours a day, so many hours a week or do you just play it by ear? This last one gets you nowhere by the way!
Set Hours and Stick to Them
One of the advantages of being your own boss is the ability to set your own hours. This is particularly true when you have an online business because you don’t necessarily have to keep hours that are convenient to your customers. But it is important to actually set working hours instead of just working when the mood strikes you.
During designated work time, avoid using the internet for non-work-related activities as this is essential to your productivity.
Here are some ways you can help yourself do that:
- Segregate your email
Use one address for personal correspondence and another for business purposes. Set your email program up to automatically check the business one only.
- Write notes to yourself
If something pops into your head that you must attend to online, don’t let it interrupt your work. Write it down and take care of it during non-work hours. A good app for that is Keep and you can get that right in your Gmail account.
- Are You Open or Closed?
Write yourself a note reminding yourself that work time is for work only, or put up an “Open” sign. It can serve as a gentle reminder that business is the only thing that should be taking place.
Use Flexibility Wisely
Another great thing about working online is flexibility. If something comes up and you need to attend to it right away, you can drop what you’re doing and attend to it. But it’s crucial to only use that privilege when absolutely necessary.
When you have an unexpected interruption, you lose working hours. If you were working at a regular job, you would have to either take sick or vacation time or lose pay. When you work for yourself, you can make the hours up at a time that is convenient for you. It is, however, important to make them up at some point.
An online business is one of the most convenient and flexible ways to work from home. It also presents more opportunities for distraction than many people imagine.
Online business success requires a lot of discipline, but the rewards are many.
One thing that works really well is to have a daily schedule you can look at to make sure you’re on track for your day. So here’s one you can use to keep you on track.