In last week's post, I shared 5 podcasts that have both encouraged and challenged me as a small business owner, especially one that works from home. Now I definitely believe much more in the positive aspects of working from home than I do in the negative ones, but that doesn't mean I don't have to fiercely address the negative ones! In fact, most of these issues can be summed up in one word: discipline.
Don't worry. I'm not about to go on a soapbox rant about how I've achieved perfect discipline. Far from it! I'm constantly in need of grace when it comes to discipline, and different things definitely work for different people. But with that said, here are 4 practical tips that have been huge for improving my productivity at home:
Getting Dressed for Work
A lot of people believe that the best part of working from home is that you get to stay in your PJ's all day. And, they're kinda right. You could stay in your PJ's all day. No one's enforcing a dress code, There's no one walking around to compare yourself to (except those of us with little ones running around). But for me, it's the work part of putting on work clothes that's important. Remember, working from home has it's perks, but it's still a real job. I'm not saying to go put on your new pant suit. But for me, getting dressed before I start working gets me that much more in the zone, and I'm less tempted to try and squeeze in a power nap every time I walk by my couch. Treat your business like what it is: a real business! You work too hard not to!
Utilize Your Productive Mentality
Next to being able to do what I love, making my own schedule is the biggest perk to running my own business. I get to choose what I work on and when I work on it, and if you're like me, you're a little more productive in the morning than in the afternoon. So for me, I try to hit the ground running by focusing on my passions like lettering, painting, and design, and then I end the day by knocking out the more business(y) things like taxes, bookkeeping, and answering messages. This doesn't mean save the "unimportant" things for later; rather, work on creating things when you're feeling most creative! This is what I do, but for you afternoon people, I definitely encourage you to flip this script to fit your productive mentality. Cater your schedule to fit your personality and season of life. If you know you're not going to be able to get anything done without having to get up at 4 a.m. or waiting until your toddler goes down for a nap, that's okay!
Oh man, I cannot overstate how crucial this next tip has been for me! In a nutshell, block scheduling is allotting certain parts of your day for specific tasks, ONLY. For example, I am a hundred times more productive when I have planned to focus on lettering and design from 9am-noon and on bookkeeping and emails from 1-2 than I am when I just write "work 9-2" in my planner. By setting specific times for specific tasks I establish focus and avoid distraction and the temptation to switch from task to task. This is a great way to take "Utilizing Your Productive Mentality" to a more detailed level. For example, I can spend 45 minutes every day figuring out what to post to Instagram, or I can spend an hour Monday morning planning all my posts for the whole week. Seriously, give this a try! If you are overwhelmed, start small. Pick one task and a 1-2 hour span to focus on, and see how it goes!
Schedule Time to Hangout With a Friend
Yep, you read that correctly! This has been huge for me and has seriously helped me with balancing work life with my personal life. Like we've said already, figuring out an ideal schedule for running a business is hard! But on top of that, adding in time for friends, family, hobbies, exercise? That's where the real struggle is, am I right? Well, here's one thing that's helped me bridge the gap between personal life and work life: consistency. I schedule a consistent morning time once or twice a week to consistently hangout with the same person to consistently do the same thing. You can take this in a thousand different directions, but here's where I've gone with it. My friend and I meet up one or two mornings a week to run together, before the work day. If running isn't your thing, definitely choose something more life-giving, but try and schedule this for the morning. By doing something life-giving, with another person, before your workday starts, you are committing to not oversleep, you are starting your day off with something encouraging, and you're not falling into a hole of isolation! Altogether, it's a win, win, WIN!
P.S. if you are looking for more tips and advice on the entrepreneurial lifestyle and haven't checked out Alexandra Beauregard at HeartLoveAlways go check her out!