So you’re working for yourself now. Awesome!
But now you don’t have anyone standing over you pushing you to do your work or even making sure it gets done.
You’re probably thinking that that’s cool right? Well, kinda sorta.
If you’re not very disciplined, it can spell trouble for your business.
And maybe you don’t know you’re not very disciplined before you take the leap to work for yourself because you’ve never had to worry about it.
In every job you’ve worked there was already structure and scheduling for you to fall in line with.
It doesn’t have to be that hard, but you must be proactive now.
Before you start missing deadlines and becoming too overwhelmed in your new-found freedom, let’s go through some ways to create your new schedule as an entrepreneur.
These are all just suggestions of course, but remember that failing to plan is planning to fail. So let’s draw up a master plan.
decide when you work best, and be honest with yourself. If it’s at night and you’ll be more alert and productive, work at night.
Some people may disagree, but there’s no “one size fits all.”
If you’re lying awake at night with all these great ideas and energy wasting away while you try to go to sleep and tell yourself you’ll do something in the morning, but then morning comes and you’ve slept in because you couldn’t fall asleep, well now you’re tired and dragging and majorly unfocused.
Look at it this way, plenty of people work third shift. If that’s where you’re at right now, then that’s just what it is.
If it’s best for you when you first wake up, plan to start your day when you first wake up.
consider other family obligations. Whether you’re single, married, with or without kids, you may have schedules to work around.
If you have kids and they play sports, plan for pickups. If you’re the one who makes dinner, give yourself time. If there’s anyone dependent on you for anything, plan around it.
The key here is “planning.” You know what’s going on in your life, it’s no shock.
3. Speaking of planning, that brings me to my next point,
know what’s on the agenda for the day. I can’t count how many days of work I’ve wasted winging it.
I get up and “loosely” know that there are some things that need to be done and then figure I’ll just start doing stuff.
But because I had no direction, I didn’t get much of anything done.
It’s as simple as a list. Write out the major things and then some things that you’ll do if you get a chance to get to them.
Then when you start the day, start at the top of the list.
Try getting in the most complicated tasks first, while your energy is still fresh, since they’ll require the most brain power. Then work your way down.
So you feel accomplished, literally check things off the list as you finish them. Psychologically it will feel like a win for the day and you will have really gotten things done.
4. Now let’s dive into doing the work itself.
Consider using the Pomodoro Technique: you work for a straight 25 minutes, not doing anything else except work and then stop for at least 5 minutes for a break.
It follows the principle of working within the time you have available to you.
Do this as many times as you need to in order to get your work done.
I like this method because it forces you to take those breaks and give your mind a few minutes to recoup and then come back fresh.
It also forces you to stop, stretch and maybe take a walk, even if it’s just for a bathroom break or to grab a snack.
It gets you moving so you’re not sitting dormant in front of your computer screen for hours straight.
It also allows you to be productive because during those 25 minute spans, you’re focused and knocking out tasks. No phone, no emails, no interruptions, just straight work.
5. Another option is to use power hours.
If 25 minutes is too short for you and will cut into your rhythm, consider using power hours instead.
Instead of just 25 minutes, use a whole hour to just work on something or a few different things on your list, but with no distractions or interruptions.
Turn your notifications off or even the volume on your phone, don’t check emails or cruise social media. Just work for the hour, then break (maybe for 10 minutes instead of 5).
Use as many of these time blocks as you need to throughout your day to accomplish what’s on your agenda.
6. This step is optional but I recommend it.
You can plan for specific days of working outside of the home.
This could be at a co-working space once a week or maybe even a coffee shop you love.
This can allow you some time to socialize with other work from home professionals and have a change of scenery.
For some reason, I do notice that I’m able to laser focus more on certain projects when I’m working outside of the home.
While I don’t think it’s for some “random” reason, it kind of makes sense to me.
If I’m not at home, I’m not questioning myself about whether or not I put the clothes in the dryer, or pulled the meat out of the freezer for dinner or remembered to take the trash out on time.
I have no need to because I can’t do any of those things anyway.
But if I’m working from home, I do find myself jumping up from my computer to go do those things as they pop into my head.
While that’s one of the perks of working from home, it can be distracting and drag out your work day too.
So let’s recap my work from home scheduling tips:
- Know when you work best and will be most productive and plan the bulk of your work day around that time.
- Consider any scheduling conflicts that will need to be worked around for any other obligations you have.
- Make a list of what needs to be done (either the night before, or first thing in the morning) and check things off your list as you finish them. Start with the most complex tasks first.
- Use the Pomodoro Technique of working for 25 minutes straight and then break for 5 minutes. Rinse and repeat.
- You can also use time blocks throughout the day for various tasks, made up of power hours.
- Plan a day for working outside of the home for a change of pace and maybe some social interaction or networking.
Also remember that just because you have a schedule, it doesn’t mean you’ll always follow it to a tee, or that it’ll always fit or be perfect.
You may have changes that come along in life that will force you to mix things up, like getting married, having kids or even adopting some pets who now require more attention and random walking times.
These tips are just to give you something to start with and have a rough idea of how to map out your day and be as productive as you can be, especially as a new work from home entrepreneur.
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As usual, I’m wishing the best in your work from home journey.