Working from home can be very freeing, and very challenging. You wake up; there’s no boss looking over your shoulder pushing you to accomplish their list of things to do. It’s just too easy to turn on the TV, sleep in, lounge about, or find something else to do. Here are ten tips I use every day to help push myself, work my business, and create a better lifestyle.
Well-being and health… feeling good about yourself
Set aside some time each day, say 30 minutes to an hour, to focus on your well-being. This could be meditation, reading, and oh yes – exercise. Plan these first thing in the morning or last thing in the day, but make that commitment to yourself and stick to it. Block out the time on your calendar and be accountable to it. It’s also tempting when you’re working hard on your business to grab whatever food is easiest just to stuff your face. Stock your kitchen with healthy foods that have minimal prep time so that you can fuel your body without wasting the whole day making lunch. These kinds of activities feed your inner self and help maintain a ‘whole person’, enabling you to perform for your job or business better than just waking up and ‘hitting it’ each day sunup to sundown.
Prioritize tasks ahead of time and stick to a schedule
Every Sunday I sit down and plan my week. Usually by then my week is already halfway filled from the prior week. Why? As I’m interacting with people throughout my week and setting times to accomplish things that are important to me, I WRITE THEM DOWN in my appointment book. Even personal things that I need to accomplish go into my book. This way I can plan my time, my business time, and not forget a meeting or phone call. It also helps me avoid accidentally overlapping things I need to do and reduce or eliminate situations where I need to explain why I didn’t take care of something.
Set goals for yourself daily and set out to accomplish them
Your calendar can filled with taking care of other people, personal business, etc. Don’t forget your income producing activities (another topic we’ll cover soon). Plan those into your schedule every day and don’t go to bed until you’ve taken care of them. If you plan to talk to X number of new people, make sure you do it. Don’t sell yourself short.
Talk to your family; share your goals, and instruct them toward your mutual success
If you’ve been around the home business industry for any length of time then you’ve probably been told to have the conversation with your spouse or kids “Mommy has to do some important work at night for the next few months. Is that OK? I promise that I’m doing this for all of us and if you support me for the next few months, I’ll make the money we need to do what we want and spend all the time that we want” (or some variation thereof). There is much truth to that, but I’ll go a step or two further. Let your family know what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and get them involved. Share your successes, like when you acquire a new business partner, or earn a bonus. Get them on your side. If they can’t (or won’t) take an active role, then at least they can support you and respect when your need to spend time on your business.
Do not avoid overtime
Not only do you need to explain to your family that you’re going to be busy for now for a long-term purpose, but you also need to realize yourself that you’ll need to to work extra for your business to run smoothly in the beginning. That dream lifestyle doesn’t just land in your lap; you have to build it. Remember, though, you are trading time for results, not for money. What you invest now will pay you recurring dividends down the road. The hardest work is at the beginning of the race.
Turn off distractions
Staying focused is key to maximizing your effectiveness in a given time. Having the TV on in the background may seem comforting but it really just makes everything you’re trying to accomplish take much longer to do; so, you either get less done or take forever doing it, or even worse- BOTH! You get less done AND take forever. Isn’t one of the reasons you started working at home to create more time for yourself and your family? Set yourself up in a place you’ll be MOST efficient at. Create an office space if you don’t already have one, even if it’s the dining table. Just make sure that it is an area where your family won’t interrupt, an area free from background noises that can make it hard to make phone calls. Have someone else on alert to answer the door. Turn off the TV and radio. Close the social media and all those extra internet windows so that you’re not tempted to ‘go shopping’ while you need to be working.
Multi-tasking with household chores
Letting things pile up at home is a common occurrence and probably the main reason your spouse nags at you about working your business. I’ve found that I can be productive for my business and take care of some household work at the same time. For the most part, don’t tackle household chores while you’re engaged in your business, especially tasks that are noisy or require full mental engagement. Depending on your ability to multi-task, you can handle small things in between your business activities. A good time to multi-task is while you’re listening to a company conference call. I find that I can clean my desk, do a little dinner prep, dust some furniture or shelves, or even fold some laundry. Running the vacuum might not be a good idea (noise); but smaller tasks that don’t require much mental attention are ideal. You may have to practice, but this will give you more hours in the day to develop and strengthen your time management.
Be a good boss to yourself
Lead by example, don’t be a slacker. Many people in this industry get caught in ‘management mode.’ They are driving their team for company promotions and activity but aren’t engaged themselves. Put the same demands and expectations on yourself; and most importantly, reward yourself for accomplishing them.
Enlist help when you need it
Have a support system. You don’t have to do it all. If you have a full evening lined up, have your family help you on things that are within their knowledge or ability. One example would be to have your spouse go to the office store to stand in line for copies, or to get supplies for your meeting. Share the load with your business partners. Many people working toward the same goal is very powerful. It also builds relationships and strengthens a sense of community.
Enjoy what you do!
There’s a saying; “If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong!” Why would you want to do something for yourself that you dread doing? That’s called a ‘job’. Have fun with it, make it enjoyable. Even though you work from home, you still are working in a business built on relationships. That’s one of the best parts of working for yourself – you get to choose who you work with. You can build some great relationships with people and even some lifetime friendships. I’ve built some relationships over the years that have enriched my life. My business partners have become my second family.
I hope that my tips have helped empower you to be effective in building your business, to make the most of your time, and to enjoy the process of creating a well-thy lifestyle.
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