It’s easy for motivational speakers to talk you into starting your own business. Yes, it’s good to work for yourself, everyone needs to. Especially this era of social media and high tech generation where you can actually ‘create the life you want’ working on your hobbies or talent. As good as it sounds, being self employed just like the most preached against 9-5, has its own flaws and challenges. Time management among many others.
One of the most difficult challenges self employed people and working from home entrepreneurs face is managing their time productively. It takes a lot of discipline and awareness for one to be as productive working from home as someone who ‘actually goes to work’.
If you are one of those struggling with being productive with your time or are planning to start working from home or become self employed, here are my few tips on getting a grip, staying focused and being productive at what you do.
1. Have a secluded/permanent space in your home where you actually call your office.
I doesn’t matter how big or small your home is. It’s important to create a permanent, secluded space for your business/work activities. This has several benefits such as:
Helps you stay organised.
Helps you stay tuned into work mood – aka disciplined.
Having your sacred space for work sends a message to family that you are serious ‘with this thing’, making it easier for you to manage their disbelief and disrespect of your work as they don’t really see it as an actual work.
2. Have your timetable / planned schedule: You understand your family situation more than anyone else, probably why you chose to work from home. Therefore, it’s important to plan your schedule to effectively work with the family situation. For example, for a parent who has to do school runs, you have to consider times for drop off and pick ups to be able to set your own time around these needs.
Your timetable could be something like – Monday to Friday (10am – 3pm, 6pm – 10pm) In this way, you’re able to give time to your family at the same time work effectively 8 hours each day. You may want to work just 3 days a week and use the other days for family chores – like cleaning, shopping, clearing, etc, while setting weekends entirely for family time, whatever you plan to do with your family.
3. Have a work book, set your daily goals: You must have a set goal for you to be able to achieve a goal. Setting daily goals makes it easy for you to stay focused, beating fear and overwhelm. One thing is to have set goals another thing is to have them clearly written down according to priority. To do this effectively, you must have a work book which stays permanently on your work desk located permanently in your home office. Motivational speakers and coaches tend to focus on journaling, which is fine for your emotional wellbeing. However, workbook is more than just journaling. Your workbook is practically for your day to day achievable goals not your dreams. They are your to do list with higher command.
Sample Entry on workbook : Monday 07/01/2019
1. First thing – Have a look at company Facebook page, check and note the metrics – monitor results and engagements on the most recent adverts and posts. Note the progress.
2. Send out 5 tweets on the scheduled sales promotions. Stay for one hour to follow up with interactions and any questions or leads.
3. Prepare email notes for Virtual assistant to pick up for use tomorrow as a follow up on our campaign.
4. Check and respond to emails and or alert responsible staff to deal with any other things that needs delegating.
5. Send a follow up email, text or call a sponsor, prospect or client. allocated time maximum 10 to 20min to this call.
6. 2pm – leave the desk, stretch out legs and get ready for school runs.
You get the idea? Yes. Then continue as required. The less the work load the more achievable they are each day. The rest of the day may be dedicated to preparing things to act on for the next day.
Dress For Purpose: How you dress is a window to how your mind is set. It is also said that dressing well is a form of good manners. When you dress for purpose, you send a powerful message to your mind to behave to purpose. Stay in your PJ all day and see how far you can get with getting things done. Someone said, to conquer the world, first make your own bed in the morning. This quote is loaded.
So, I’m simply saying you should dress according to your office ethic. Whatever ethic your type of business requires, then stay that way. For example, if you’re a work from home Doctor, Lawyer, Banker, then dress accordingly as though your clients or patients are right in front of you. Get up early, bath, brush your teeth, dress up, make-up, put on your work perfume and feel yourself at work. Same as if you’re a uniform professional working from home. Example, a Nurse etc, then also put on your work wear.
Be Professional; keep your business time and communication as you would if you were at work outside your home.
Family and friends are the last to fall into line to know you’re actually working as long as they see you at home. Your attitude towards your work home job determines how others act around it. If you treat it as casual and a hobby, then people are going to act same way. If you won’t entertain a friend’s or family visit at your place of work during working hours, why would you allow friends and family to visit you during your work hours at home? Why take social calls and non-work related calls during your working hours? You’ve got to be disciplined and respectful of your time for others to respect your work.
Keep communications professional, short and straight to the point. Address your calls as ethical as possible, make sure there are no interruptions, background noise and distractions when taking business calls. Use your professional terms when discussing professional issues and keep confidential matters confidential even if it relates with friends or family. Don’t while away your time on social media discussing unrelated issues during your working hours. You may use your break or out of work hours to catch up with friends and family, never allow your social time to encroach into your business hours. Remember your business is legitimate and must be treated as such.
Set your business policies and stick to them.
Every business survival depends largely on the effectiveness of it’s culture and practices. These practices outlines the business policies. Setting deadlines, payment policies, invoicing, channel of communication, opening and closing time, language and type of relationship with clients.
These are a few things that define and create the life of a business. You as a self employed must work hard to develop a system that will form your business culture to stick to. Of course, you can always evaluate and change things that aren’t working for you over time. It’s a work in progress, but you get the point. Don’t you?
Faustina holds a mentoring and coaching sessions for start-up entrepreneurs, self employed, women and working from home entrepreneurs. If you need help with scheduling, planning, and general help with switching from paid job to being your own boss, then contact Faustina via the website.