I get it, doing work after work can feel overwhelming at times. On my drive home, I am usually thinking about a glass of wine and watching re-runs of How I Met Your Mother. But since I decided that starting a business after work was #lifegoals, I had to re-think my after-five routine.
So, I started paying attention to my productivity failures and changed my environment and habits. If you want to know how I became a get-it-done master after the 9 to 5 grind, this list is for you.
GET SOME OFFICE SPACE
I don't care how focused you may be; your home is a natural productivity assassin. The key to reclaiming your motivation is to designate a particular area as your office. And here's how you do it:
- Build an office. Pick an area that has little traffic and free of distractions during your "office hours." I used to plop down on the couch with my laptop to "work." One of two things would happen, I would start watching television or fall asleep. So, I decided to set-up an assigned work area. Look for an underused place in your home, find a small desk (thrift stores and Ikea are fantastic) and set-up shop.
- Get the right tools. I get excited about buying new things. And when I was outfitting my space, I almost purchased one of those 4-in-1 printers, but what was I going to do with it? Before you start shopping, write out your work process to get clarity on what it is you need. A laptop/netbook, notepads, and ink pens are a great place to start.
- Get a satellite office. Friday is usually the hardest day for me to work because I would rather be frolicking with my friends. So, I decided to give myself one hour to get one thing done at Starbucks. When you need to refresh your drive, get out of the house and work in a different environment. Coffee shops are great because they have Wi-Fi, caffeine, and people avoiding small talk.
Yes, you read that right, I said schedule yourself. It takes a bit of time to plan out your entire month, so start by focusing on when you can work.
- Design your work week. I got started with just two hours a day, which may not sound like much, but it worked. I leveraged my lunch and standard evening TV time, utilized an intentional to do list and slowly built my biz. Start by reviewing your typical week and note how much time you can spend each day working. Aim for a 10-20 hour work week by utilizing the times when you would usually browse the net, talk on the phone or catch up on your DVR.
- Commit to the schedule. It's useless to block out time if you aren't going to honor it. To help me stay consistent, I found a friend to be my accountability partner and created consequences for when I reneged. So, grab your calendar and mark your work time as busy. Do not schedule anything else during that period because consistency is essential to your growth.
- Set specific days for completing your administrative task. Naturally, there are tasks that you despise doing and put off to the last moment. You may not enjoy scheduling or invoices, so make a plan for when and how to attack them. For me, it is my bookkeeping, but I know that every other Saturday that's what I'm doing. Take some time to learn how often you need to do these things and schedule them on a weekly or monthly basis. It will help you alleviate the stress, pressure and worry of getting it done.
GET SOME HELP
I know you're a superhero, and nothing is impossible for you. However, why not give yourself a mental break and let someone else do the heavy lifting for once? One of the most valuable lessons I have learned is to ask people for help whenever I need it.
- Don't waste time trying to strengthen your weakness. Social media is just not my thing, but into today's digital economy, I have to rock it. Before, I would drive myself crazy trying to figure out what to post, when to post and how often – and it just never jived with me. My solution for that was to sign-up for an online class that told me exactly what to do and what programs to get. Whatever you Achilles heel may be, ask someone for help with it. A great place to start is your favorite Facebook group, the people there have been where you are and can offer you solid advice. Remember, you may be in business for yourself, but you don't have to be in it by yourself.
- Delegate your personal life. Delegating is something that has become very crucial to maintaining my sanity and health. I love what I do and relish in my late nights and early mornings, but that means some parts of my life don't get the attention they deserve. Unfortunately, we can't hire someone to go to the gym for us, but we can get a housekeeper to handle the big chores, use a meal prep service or ask a loved one to handle an errand here or there. It's a win-win because not only do you free up time, but you prevent unnecessary stress.
GET A PLAN AND DO IT
What exactly do you define as work? I used to think as long as I was doing something related to business, even if it wasn't mine, I was working. In reality, I was wasting my time. The way I turned it around was by developing action plans.
- Start with the big picture. Whenever I start a new project, I create a large goal and then break it down into smaller actionable activities. Let's say that your goal is to write two new chapters for your book this month, write out the steps it takes such as researching or writing. Then break them up into things you can do each day.
- Plan out each day the night before. I live by my Productivity Planner. Before going to bed, I sit down and with my big goal in mind, write out the things I absolutely must do the next day in order of importance. This process will allow you to get right to work when you sit down because you won't have to figure out what to do. Also, one of the perks of pre-planning is giving yourself the time to find any help or resources that you may need.
- One thing at a time. Multi-tasking is the enemy here. You have to focus on one thing at a time to get the most out of restricted schedule. Whenever I try to do several things at once, I find myself making mistakes or not finishing a project by the deadline. Pick one area of your business to spend the majority of your energy growing. Then choose 1-3 task to work on each day.
TAKE CARE OF YOU
About two years ago, all I did was work. I did not focus on taking care of me, and my body reminded me in a major way. No matter how dedicated you are to your business goals, your health must come first. Here is a list of things to help you do that:
- Set working hours and stick to them.
- Get a bed time that is free of electronics.
- Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day.
- Stay hydrated by drinking water and eating fresh fruits and veggies.
- Say no to things that do not make your life richer.
In the early stages, your business is not going to run well without you. Take care of yourself physically and mentally, so you can always be your best.
Tell me, how do you manage to get work done after leaving your 9 to 5? What are your biggest roadblocks when trying to work on your venture when you are at home? Leave your response in the comments below; I'd love to hear your tips, tricks, and secrets.