RIIIIIIIINNNNNNGGGG!!! That’s only the 9,6697th time your mom’s called today. Rather than beat your head against the wall again, take back your precious minutes. You’re the owner. You’re the boss. Entrepreneurship isn’t a game. And whether you work from home or work from Starbucks, your time is money. And every minute you allow someone to take away from it, imagine they’re sucking a dollar from your bank account. And that is the fastest way to end up eating peanut butter and jelly with a side of Ramen noodles for dinner.
They mean well. They really do. They don’t intend to steal your money. They think they’re just calling. Besides, why wouldn’t you want to talk to them? But in the end, their good intentions won’t pay your bills. And the key to laying down the law is to do it while letting them know you are serious about your work and that you appreciate their being a part of your life. So when they step over the line and ignore the following rules, all you have to do is politely, calmly, and lovingly (with a hint of smugness, of course) remind them that the rules are in place because success doesn’t happen without them and that you’re happy to deal with them when the time is right.
Lay down your rules, take back your time, and own your business. Without getting disowned by your family. Here are the new house rules of entrepreneurship for both you and your family.
1. On or Off
Set your hours to coincide with the time they are least likely to bother you. Yes, when they’re asleep. Whether your disctractors tend to be under 4′ tall or older than 45 years of age, they have to sleep. Schedule your hours so they happen when you have the most energy. Morning person? Get up at 3:30am like I do and work like a mad person until you are forced to stop and get everyone ready for the day. Night Owl? No worries, trade your movie time in for work time. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ll accomplish with no one calling you or screaming behind your head. Really.
2. Lock yourself away.
If you work from home, it’s likely you’ll run into more than one project that requires you to work outside of your scheduled “Office Hours.” Don’t panic. Set up the kids, your spouse, your bird in another room with LOADS of fun and entertaining activities. Soccer games are great to keep those sports lovers out of your hair and a deck of cards? Well, the kids will never play a hand of rummy with them, but they’ll have a blast playing 52 Pick Up. While they’re doing what they do best, you’ll hunker down in your corner and do what you do best. Note: There will be no yelling screaming or fighting during this time or the party is over and everyone sits on their beds quietly waiting for time to finish. Totally not kidding. And when your work time is done, put in their minds that everyone will pitch in to clean up the mess.
Set an automated message that lets you politely remind callers that you’re unable to be interrupted right now. They’ll get the message and you won’t have to be scum by hanging up on them. After one or two tries, they’ll give up and be more respectful of your time. All you have to do is wait.
4. Give back
Contribute a percentage of your earnings to the household. Nothing says you mean business like money. And when your family sees your not just pocketing your earnings for new pipes for your motorcycle, they’ll understand that you’re in this for the long haul and they can enjoy it or they can give up what you’re putting forth for them. And as your business grows, so does your financial input, making your business the last thing they’ll want you to quit.
5. Hide it
Tuck your phone in a drawer or in another room on silent. Even if you’ve turned the volume all the way down and the vibration is off, it’s still a temptation sitting by your side. You’ll still work a little; then catch yourself on Facebook ten minutes later or responding to somebody’s yummy chocolate birthday on Instagram. Protect yourself from pitfalls. Keep your phone at bay in a drawer or in another room.
Turn off all notifications. This was the hardest thing for me. You’re in business, right? It’s your job to respond to situations. And you will, in time. During your peak work hours, the ones where you create the most content, have the most success reaching out to people, or just generating ideas, it’s your duty to honor and respect that time. And responding in social media or to emails isn’t doing that. Section out time to do that each day and you won’t feel you NEED to be “on” 24hrs/day.
7. Fill the shoes
Act like a BOSS. No one is going to take your business seriously if YOU don’t. You have a business to run. Run it as though every eye on you is waiting for you to fail. And you will never let that happen. Your time is now. They’ll learn to deal with it. They’ll learn to live around it. They’ll learn to love it as much as you do. Whether “they” are your spouse, your kids or your mom. Set up your rules. Set up your success.