Home-based businesses are becoming more and more popular, for a variety of reasons – not least of all the fact that they present a way for stay-at-home parents to manage and structure a career around and alongside their family obligations.
Home-based businesses are also the perfect way to develop a “side hustle” during your free time, and many of these kinds of ventures benefit from notably low start-up costs and overheads.
There’s a good deal of information out there already about the technical requirements of running different types of business ventures from the comfort of your own home. You can find comprehensive guides about small business loans, can buy books filled with marketing know-how and can attend seminars and courses on managing your brand identity and tracking your KPIs.
What isn’t talked about quite as much, however, is all of the “lifestyle stuff” that goes into making a home-based business successful – and yet, it’s often the non-obvious details that ultimately make all the difference when it comes to your ability to achieve and maintain peak productivity and to get your business off the ground in the first place.
For the sake of your own sanity, well-being, and success in business, here are some non-obvious things that you need to focus on for your home business to work out.
- Getting your sleep as optimised as possible
Have you ever had what was hypothetically a full night of sleep, but ended up sleeping so badly that you woke up in the morning feeling as though you’d spent the entire night wide awake?
If you have, you will be well aware of the fact that sleep is one of the single most important things out there when it comes to your overall health, your energy levels, your mental and physical performance, and your ability to remain consistent and be successful in your work.
There are many things that can go wrong with your sleep, in order to leave you feeling pretty miserable and to ruin your health and potential wealth. Among them are insomnia, sleep apnoea, UARS, and more.
The sleep researcher Matthew Walker examines some of the incredible benefits of sleep in his bestselling book “Why We Sleep,” along with some of the terrible consequences of not getting enough sleep – or, for that matter, enough high-quality sleep.
On the first page of the book, the author points out that getting moderately insufficient sleep for even just one week wreaks such havoc on your body’s ability to regulate its blood sugar levels, that a doctor would class you as prediabetic if he conducted the right tests during this period.
When people sleep enough, on the other hand, their memories are better, their problem-solving abilities are improved, their self-discipline and focus are significantly greater, and all sorts of other things besides.
People who get enough rest are also much less prone to disease, and are much better at accurately assessing the situations they find themselves confronted by.
All that is to say, if you’re trying to run a successful business from home, you need to do whatever you can to optimise your sleep, as much as possible. Existing in a state of chronic sleep deprivation will have all sorts of terrible impacts on you and your well-being – and it can make the difference between whether or not you’re actually able to make a success of your business venture.
- Finding a diet that makes you feel your best (and eating enough food in general)
There are all sorts of different diets out there – some intentional, and others that people just “fall into” by following the path of least resistance.
And while there is a spirited debate constantly raging back and forth about which diet is ultimately healthiest, and which is closer to the “ideal,” there’s plenty of agreement more or less across the board on the fact that certain common eating styles can be extremely detrimental to mental and physical health and performance.
A diet high in processed foods and artificial additives such as high fructose corn syrup and trans fats – among other things – is known to not only shorten your lifespan but to massively contribute to your risk of experiencing cognitive impairment of different sorts, too.
Then, there’s the whole issue of food allergies and sensitivities, which often go undiagnosed for years if not indefinitely unless they are severe enough to trigger anaphylactic shock.
People who don’t realise that they have a sensitivity to a certain food, and keep eating it, can create a state of chronic inflammation in their bodies which also contributes to cognitive impairment in addition to various other forms of disease.
And, as if all of that wasn’t bad enough, research going back to the 1940s shows conclusively that simply failing to eat enough food in general causes mental and physical lethargy, depression, and all sorts of other issues.
You’ll have to go through a process of trial and error to see which diet makes the most sense to you in terms of its particular health claims and makes you feel the best, in practice.
Getting your nutrition right is essential for supporting your business ambitions – especially if you’re juggling those with significant family obligations, too.
And make sure to eat enough food, as well.
- Embracing distraction-filtering and simplicity as a general ethos
These days, there is so much potential distraction confronting us all in our everyday lives, that it would probably have made the average man or woman a hundred years ago go absolutely insane if they were confronted by it.
Sitting down and trying to be productive isn’t so easy when you’ve got that vague impulse pushing you to check up on your favourite news or gossip sites, or log your social media profiles, or call a friend, or begin planning your next vacation.
In an office, these distractions would be mitigated by the various people there who would be paid to ensure that everyone stayed on point and met their targets.
But when you’re working from home, the available distractions only magnify tenfold, and there are no “gatekeepers” there to make sure that you are doing what you should be doing at any given moment. And, as if the potential for procrastination wasn’t bad enough already, you also need to contend with things like the urge to take a nap in your own bed, to wander away from your desk and read a book, to go for a walk, or to watch TV.
To be successful when running a business from home, you have to develop your ability to focus, and to filter out distractions wherever they may come from. In practice, a lot of that ultimately means that you need to get comfortable with embracing simplicity as a general ethos in your life.
Take steps to reduce the background noise in any situation. Remove sources of temptation and distraction, and focus on one thing at a time, so that you can actually make some headway on it.
- Keeping enough varied hobbies going during your downtime
Workaholic-types often get caught up in the idea that if they just work flat out, more or less at all hours, they will inevitably gain an edge on their “lazier” competitors, who regularly take time off to do things like go meet up with friends, go out on family day trips, read novels, and all the rest.
In fact, however, there’s compelling research that shows that people actually become more productive, creative, and insightful in their work, when they are having sufficient downtime and aren’t just grinding away constantly.
The book “Range,” by David Epstein, takes that a step further, and looks at all sorts of examples to support the fact that people who have a healthy and varied range of hobbies, interests, and life experiences, are often much better at lateral thinking, problem-solving, and creativity, than strict specialists who don’t have the same breadth of experience.
Keeping up varied hobbies, and making sure that you get enough downtime to counterbalance the hours you spend working on your home business, might seem more like self-care than a business success strategy. In fact, however, it’s likely both.
- Shaping and structuring your environment to “nudge” you into peak productivity
Everyone can think of moments in their lives where their willpower gave out, and they buckled in their discipline and resolve and ended up straying from the path they had committed to stick to.
The book “Nudge” might shed some light on this phenomenon, with its insights into how subtle tweaks to the environment we occupy can radically alter our behaviour, without us being consciously aware of it at all.
Willpower and discipline are essential, but they should not be relied on 24 hours a day, for all tasks and challenges that you might face. Instead, you should save them for the really big stuff and should structure your environment to guide you towards peak productivity in a more natural and effortless manner.
In the case of home-based businesses, this could mean various things, such as having a dedicated study where you do your work and decorating that study with motivational quotes and imagery to put you “in the zone” each morning. Another “environmental hack” could be something like leaving your workstation primed and ready to go the night before, with the right files open, so that you can hit the ground running first thing in the morning.
Whichever environmental tweaks you use, don’t underestimate how important this process is.
Thanks for stopping by today, I hope you’ve enjoyed this post.
*This is a collaborative post