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Overcome the challenges of working from home

In this episode, I talk about Homepreneur News and the idea of setting a Time Goal as part of your business goal. This week the Homepreneur co-working group, Hoffice appeared in an article in the Financial Times.

Amanda also attended The New Work panel discussion in London on the challenges of incorporating flexible working practices into corporate life.

I'm reading ‘Work the System’ by Sam Carpenter. I talk about how it’s never too late to turn a company round.

Integrating a Working Time Goal into a business plan is an important addition which will help Homepreneurs meet their objectives of flexibility over the working day and control over the number of hours worked.

Alongside every episode, there are these Show Notes which include a summary of the content of the show and any useful links as well as the full transcript which you can find below.

Follow Homepreneur on social media and keep in touch:

Website: https://www.homepreneur.co/podcast/

Email: Amanda Brown

Facebook group: Homepreneur Community

Twitter: @amanda_brown

Read the transcript

Hi and a warm welcome to the Homepreneur Show. My name is Amanda Brown, business consultant and founder of the Homepreneur community. I'm here to help you overcome the challenges of running a home based business. Whether you're just thinking of leaving the nine to five, or you're a seasoned Homepreneur, my aim is to provide you with guidance on productivity, focus, and motivation so you can maintain the perfect work/life balance. This year, I celebrate 20 years of working from my home office through both the ups and downs.

You can discover the show notes, free courses and downloads at www.homepreneur.co. So, let's get started.

Hello and welcome to episode five of the Homepreneur Show, and in this week's episode, I'm going to be taking a look at goal setting, and a particular way of building a new work/life balance business plan.

But first of all, lets have some news from what's been going on at Homepreneur Headquarters. Well, this week we were very fortunate to be mentioned in the Financial Times. Now, for those of you who listen to this from overseas, the Financial Times is the business newspaper of the UK. It's published online and in print form. We had an article where we were mentioned, written by the journalist Emma Jacobs. She talked all about co-working and how co-working is becoming something that we're doing not only formally by going into co-working spaces, but also from home. She also talked about the app which is being developed, called Kitchen Table, and there was a lovely picture of a group of us sitting in my kitchen, which rather made me laugh, actually. This lovely journalist came all the way out from the Financial Times offices in the center of London, up here on the train, and sat in my kitchen, drinking a little cup of coffee and took some photographs of the lovely band of people who join me every month at my very informal co-working.

Now, I say it's informal. In fact, we're quite disciplined. I run it a bit like school. We have 50 minutes of work and then 10 minutes break. And in the 50 minutes, there's silence and we get quite a lot done. But it was a great honor to be published in the FT. And of course, I've posted it up all over our social media and we've had some great reactions to that particular article. And this should encourage you to reach out to some of these journalists. They need variety in what they write about. They can't be writing about serious things all the time.

And the subject of work is obviously of great importance. It's the key to what makes the world go round for these journalists and the newspapers that they have to sell.

Allied to that, this week, I went to a very interesting panel discussion. There's a new group of people under the banner of The New Work. You can find that online. And there was an interesting panel discussion about how agile working, as they're calling it, has got to be one of the goals which companies set.

The panel was led by Helen Tupper and she was joined by Pip Jameson, who runs a network of creatives called The Dots, Paul Davis, who is director from Microsoft, was there, joined by Catherine Allen of Alice's Kitchen. And they were talking about the importance of integrating agile working or flexible working into the whole culture of how they employ people.

We have break out sessions and I attended one run by Andy Williams of the [Hawksbee 00:04:41] Collective. Now, the Hawksbee collective, once again, has a different way of looking at providing agency services to companies. It's a way of putting team of people together to fulfill a particular project. And they have been particularly successful in securing some actually very prestigious projects with large companies in the UK.

I think the teams of people are spread out all over the world. But actually, what's happening is people are being measured not by their time that they spend on a project, but the output. It's about being productive. It's about producing results for the client. So, there are a lot of people talking about how agile working means a different way of looking at the way in which we spend our time.

Following on with this, I am reading a really interesting book. It's written by a man who is now probably in his mid-50s called Sam Carpenter. He's an American and he's written a book, I think this is the third edition that's just been republished. It's called Work the System, and it's all about how to be more productive and how to look at the way in which you run your business. The fascinating thing about Sam's book is, in fact, how long it took him to find a way to save his company.

Now, Sam was a typical dropout of the 1960s. He actually went to Woodstock, would you believe? And he suffered a lot of the things that happened in the 1960s. He turned his life around after quite a lot of personal tragedy and ended up running a call center. But he wasn't running it very efficiently. And he certainly was not always making the payroll. And it was just fascinating reading to find that this man had found himself sleeping in his office.

He had no home. He had no money to cover the next payroll. He was actually completely stuffed. And then he had an epiphany.

What he realized was that he was too emotionally attached to his business and that he wasn't looking at the processes involved in an objective fashion.

Well, long story short, he still owns that business but he does a lot of consulting, obviously some writing, and he's turned that business round and he only spends about a day a month overseeing the management of that particular business. It's a really good read. The first part of the book is very personal and then he goes on to describe how you might go about making improvements. And as he says in the title, Work the System.

So, that is a very interesting book. And it made me think back to listening to a podcast, I guess it's quite old now, it was a very moving podcast by Chris Ducker of Youpreneur, and he talked about the time when he was working hundreds of hours a week and he was completely burning out, and he ended up in hospital.

In other words, if you allow it, work will fill the time available for it to happen in. It's Parkinson's Law, and we don't want that to happen. So I'm thinking that actually going forward, it's really important that the amount of time you spend when you're working from home can expand so that you're wandering into the office every evening, not only spending all the day on your work, but also spending all evening on it. It's simply not productive. Is that the reason you gave up the nine to five?

You gave up the nine to five, possibly, to have more flexibility with you hours, more control over how you spend the working day.

I know that when it comes to developing a new product or working on a particular time-sensitive deadline, you've got to put the hours in. There's no doubt about that. Work doesn't just happen. Sometimes you really do have to burn the candle at both ends, but the longer that becomes a habit, the more likely you are to persist with that unhealthy, stressful way of managing your time.

I'm thinking, actually, that there needs to be, as we reach the final quarter of the year, a new work/life balance business plan. And what I intend to do is to, not only put in forecasts for my revenue, my cost of sales, my expenses, I'm gonna put in a target for how long I actually spend sitting at my desk.

We know that agile working is a goal for companies, and it should be a goal for people who work from home. Companies are now implementing flexible hours, and that's been done for decades. Flexi-time was something that was available to some people when I was back in my corporate day.

I met somebody on Saturday, actually, who works a thing called compressed hours. She manages to fit in five days work into four days. She goes into the office three our of the five days and work from home the other one. She compresses her house by starting early, leaving a bit later, and this works because she's got a small child to look after. So this flexible working, compressed hours means that work/life balance can be retained.

So, how many hours do you work a week? I hope it's not the hundred, plus, that poor Sam Carpenter was working when he was running his call center so badly. And I hope you're not going to repeat Chris Ducker's experience of ending up in hospital with burnout.

It's said that you cannot be productive working longer than a nine to five, and I couldn't agree more. When you're at home, presenteeism doesn't exist. There's nobody there to say that you have to be sitting at your desk at 6:00 at night. You shouldn't feel guilty that, once you're finished, and that list, that important thing that you had to do today, when that's finished, that's finished. Go and do something else.

I could easily, when I'm by myself all day and then in the evening, just continue to work. But no, that's not for me. I need to get out and I need to see people.

I need to be fresh tomorrow morning, because we have another meeting of our office group. There's a group of us meeting here in my kitchen to co-work together.

So what do you think are gonna be your goals for balancing your work and your life? Let us know. Please get in touch. You can reach me, Amanda Brown, by email: Amanda@homepreneur.co or you can find me on Twitter, @amanda_brown, or just visit the website to read the show notes.

Thank you so much for listening. Next week, we have a fantastic interview with the wonderful Joanna Penn. I look forward to speaking to you very soon. Have a lovely day.

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