I have discovered after many months being self-employed and working from home that there are many benefits and many challenges to running a business from home. I love feeling motivated by my own goals and having the flexibility to do what I’m passionate about…but sometimes it’s hard to continue to feel accountable for work when no one is there to motivate you to get it done. Here are some things I do to maximize my productivity during working hours:
1. Get Dressed: The simple act of putting on a nice pair of black pants and a top, brushing my hair, teeth and putting on some mascara and lip gloss can make facing the work day easier. Being work-ready makes starting work by 8:30 realistic, instead of questioning if I should get back into bed. I get up ready to rock it every day, and even though no one can see my outfit, that doesn’t mean they can’t hear my confidence over the phone.
2. Get Exercise: Adopting a puppy has ended up being all the motivation I needed to get outside, get moving and change the channel after working hard for several hours. The fresh air and the movement clears my head of stress and allows me to reprioritize.
3. Get Out: It may not be very easy to get motivated to do exercise every day, however, it is easier to get motivated to go out to a coffee shop! Pack up your most important tools, find a table and get your drink of choice. I say to myself: “I will not leave this coffee shop until these 3 tasks are done! I will not take any phone calls for one hour, I will not watch YouTube videos, and I will be highly productive.”
3. Schedule Phone Calls and Meetings 4 out of 5 workdays: It is very important to keep your day busy with the voices and energy of other people, even if you’re doing it from your home office. I try to make a rule to get out of the house 4 out of 5 days a work week, whether that’s for a meeting, a casual coffee or just a solo working session.
4. Use a Management Tool to Keep You Accountable: Finding the right tool and committing to using it has been one of the hardest things for me to do, although I know how important it is. So many options….combined with my hesitancy to commit to one technology, all while knowing that my business keeps changing… makes this a hard decision. What if my needs change in 6 months and my team has to relearn the tool? I truly understand the anxiety people feel when starting to use technology or social media for their business. It’s tough to put your trust in someone or something. Nowadays, I use Trello, and while it isn’t perfect, my productivity is much better than when I was handwriting everything.
5. Schedule in Down Time: This is a very personal thing, but since I could work all the time, I need to create boundaries for myself so that I can be well rested and produce excellent work. Since my personal and professional life often overlap due to then nature of social media, I have to make times to close my laptop and put my phone on silent. Right now, I try to unplug by dinnertime, so that I can talk and eat with my friends, family or husband. I may have to work occasionally in the evenings or make a to-do list before going to bed, but I prioritize “me” time every evening and also show a commitment to the people and things that make my life full beyond my business.
6. Clean Your Desk: Sounds like a small thing, but a clean desk is a happy desk. Being surrounded by clutter can be very overwhelming when you have a lot of different tasks to get done. Taking an hour to clean up, update your to do list and light a candle can make your working hours more productive. When you’re searching for documents or feeling unsure where to start, a good filing system and a clean work space can make all the difference.
What helps you be productive? Calling all remote workers, business owners and stay at home moms! What else can I do? Here’s some other things that I have learned in my time as a business owner!
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