Making Your Days Productive

If you are like a lot of full time webmasters you started in this business on a part time basis and that turned into a full time job. Making the move from working at a normal job to being self-employed and working from home can quickly go from being a dream come true to being a day of chaos and wasted time. Here are a couple of ideas that can help you get your ducks in a line and make shifting from the workplace to the home office a smooth and productive transition.


I have an extra bedroom in my house that I have been able to turn into my home office. I have a desk and my computer, printer, fax and all the stuff I need to do my work. I’m lucky enough to live alone, but even if there are people staying with me and I need to work I can go in there, shut the door and be in my own world. I choose not to have a TV in here so that I don’t get distracted by it. I listen to the radio or my MP3 player and I focus on my work. If you are trying to work in different places around the house or at a table surrounded by other people, in line of someone watching a movie or cleaning or doing any number of things it will make your work be much less productive.

Pick a place in your house and try to block it off from the rest of the world and make that space your area. Tell people when you are in there that you are not available. You don’t need a big space to do this. A friend of mine’s wife started a business from their home and she bought some room dividers and divided off a section of their bedroom and made that her office. Their kids now know when mom is in there she is working and not to be bothered.


When I first started being a fulltime webmaster one of the things I liked the most about it was that I could, for the most part, make my own hours. I’ve never been a morning person so I prefer to work late into the night and sleep in later in the mornings. After about six months my friends realized that this was working for me and I was really self-employed. So the jokes started. They would say things like, “you don’t have a real job.” Or, “You don’t work for a living.” They didn’t realize that I worked more hours than any of them; I just did it at home and on my own terms. Soon the favors started coming. A friend would call me and ask if I could pick their kid up, take them home and watch them for a couple of hours, or could I run an errand for them or come over and watch their kids for an afternoon. At first it was just a couple of times and it was no big deal, I like helping my friends out, but pretty soon it was a few times a week and the next thing I knew I was spending part of almost every day helping other people do stuff. Eventually I just had to tell them that I couldn’t do it that I had to work. At first the scoffed and made the remarks about not having a real job, but when I pointed out that I work 60 hours a week at my job, just not 9-5 and that every hour I spend doing their stuff it’s another hour I have to work later that day they started realizing I was serious. It can be hard to tell your friends no, but in some cases you need to be tough and stand up for yourself. 

Personally I set a schedule for myself and I try to stick to it. During the hours I normally work I tell my friends and family to assume that I am not home. 


This is a business where you could have a million different things to do on any given day. I would try to keep them in my head and remember what needed to be done on any given day and I would end up forgetting half of it. What has worked for me is using the Outlook calendar and task list. I make a task list of everything I need to do then I rank them in order of priority. From there I move over to the calendar and schedule my day hour by hour. This way when I sit down on any given day I can check my schedule and see what I have to do that day and when I have to do it. I go to lunch at around the same time every day and work nearly the same hours every day. This really helps me maximize my day and get the most out of it. 


Working from home and working for yourself is something most people only dream of. Those of us who are lucky enough to be able to do that sometimes find that it takes more effort than you might think. Not having a boss stand over you and direct you can take some getting used to. If you treat it like a business, make time every day to work and find the best way to get your work done, working for yourself can be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do.



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