What’s the best part of working at home? No boss breathing down your neck. Even if you have a boss, they’re not there with you. You get to be your own boss. But who’s holding you accountable? Who’s making sure everything’s getting done on time?
A good boss does more than you might realize. They keep track of projects, send helpful reminders, and even provide encouragement. Think of them like parents when you go off to college or move out. You’re eager to do everything on your own until you realize just how much you have to handle on your own.
Managing Your Time
This is probably one of the hardest obstacles to overcome when you try to be your own boss. In fact, people struggle with time management even when working in a traditional environment. However, you usually have a boss to hold you accountable to a set schedule. When you work at home, that schedule starts to become a lot more flexible.
Your boss won’t know that you’re binging Netflix while “working.” No one’s going to notice that you decided to take several hour-long breaks throughout the day.
The problem is that people will notice. If you’re not managing your time, you’ll get behind on your work. You either have to work extra hours to make it up or you end up with angry clients or a very angry boss if you’re part of a remote team.
There are several ways to be the boss of your time, including:
- Create a set schedule and stick to it,
- Use time management techniques, such as the Pomodoro Technique.
- Get rid of distractions, such as blocking common procrastination websites.
- Set reminders to stay on track.
- Schedule your daily tasks and to-dos.
Lack of Structure
This might be one of your favorite parts of working at home. However, it’s hard to be your own boss without any type of structure or routine. In a traditional environment, there are obvious consequences when deciding to skip work for the day or making a difficult client wait for an answer.
When something becomes difficult, you may choose to just avoid it versus confronting it. After all, what’s the big deal? The big deal is your job depends on it. Not having a traditional boss makes it harder to see the consequences of taking it easy.
No matter where you’re working from, you still need structure. It’s difficult at first, especially if a more flexible schedule is why you’ve chosen to work from home. Yet, you get to set the schedule and routine. Be the boss and decide what works for you. This could be working in the middle of the night and only responding to emails a few hours during the day.
Whatever structure you set, stick to it, even if you don’t always feel like it. Remember, you’re the boss, and sometimes you have to be strict with your employee, aka yourself.
Find Someone to Talk To
The great thing about having a boss is you have someone to talk to. You can ask questions if you’re not sure what you’re doing. You get to let the boss handle more difficult clients and situations.
When you decide to be your own boss at home, you don’t have to do it all alone. Reach out to others who are working for themselves or are just great at working remotely for a traditional job. Join work-from-home groups on social media to discuss how to handle certain situations. You’ll even get time management tips and learn how to make the adjustment from traditional employee to being your own boss and can make the transition a little easier.
It takes time to be a good boss. Be patient with yourself. After all, you’re entering into a brand new role. As easy as it might sound, being your own boss is hard. It takes an incredible amount of discipline, but you can do it.
As you start out, keep these three things in mind:
- Have a schedule.
- Create a dedicated workspace.
- Dress more professionally. Dressing more closely to how you normally would at work changes your mindset to keep you more productive and focused, though a mix of professional and casual is fine so that you’re more comfortable.
If you’re acting as your own boss for the first time, share your challenges and how you’re overcoming them.