Kelly Spors, New York Times small business columnist, quotes Alvah Parker, a Swampscott, Mass., career transition coach in Run Your Home Like an Office:

She suggests at-home entrepreneurs write a detailed business plan that includes not just projections for the business itself, but also specifics on how you’ll manage working from home. This includes laying out a regular work schedule and describing in advance how you’ll handle specific scenarios, such as if a friend or relative calls during working hours or your child interrupts during an important phone call. You might even designate a time during the day or evening for household tasks, errands or recreational activities you’d otherwise be tempted to do during work hours.

Be realistic. You don’t want to build a business plan where you’re planning for more work hours than you can handle or ignoring obvious interruptions that are going to detract from your work time. One option: Assume that times when young kids are awake will be less productive, and plan to get the bulk of work done during nap times or when the kids are being watched by someone else.

And now the hard part: sticking to the plan. Many entrepreneurs find keeping separate to-do lists for work and home chores helps manage their time and keep the two psychologically separate.

— Tim

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Tim BerryTim Berry
Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.