I know when I was in my old employed job, working from home was a breeze, I would often long for a ‘WFH’ day just to catch up on housework and have an easy day, but those days are well and truly gone.
Ever since I started my business it has been a steep learning curve on how to be as productive with my hours during the day, I have set hours due to having primary school age children, so I need to make sure I am as focused as I can be. Running your own business throws up a lot of tasks that you wouldn’t have thought of when you were in your employed role. So now you wear all the hats, you need to be able to juggle your time in the best way possible.
Granted, it this took me a really REALLY long time to get into the swing of, first my office setup wasn’t ideal at all, it was in a place in the house that was constantly busy, I moved around the house for a good year before I realised that this was a big problem to my productivity as I wasn’t able to close a door from the distractions, so for me I was lucky enough to have a wooden cabin at the end of my garden, and a lot of time and work (hubby’s blood and sweat) I finally got my office space!
But you do not need to have a cabin at the end of your garden, a space in your bedroom, a spare room or a space that isn’t in the thick of it will help, I have on occasions, when I must work when my children are home, I work from the kitchen! Thankfully that does not happen often as that is an even bigger distraction, I can see breakfast bowls in the sink and washing needs doing etc etc.
So, my tips for being as productive with your working day as possible are:
As mentioned above having the right space is key, working from your kitchen may not be the best solution long term, look at trying to find a place in your house that you can close a door too. Failing that maybe trying to rent a desk at an office block (like Regus) for a morning a week, to give you that away time.
Having that space will really help your productivity.
Before you log off the night before, grab your diary and plan for the following day. I use both a paper diary and my diary on my email system. I make sure that whatever I have planned for my day is electronically logged with an alarm or timer.
I am slightly crazy with colour coding, so I have colours for each of my clients, colours for my personal work like content creation morning, or source images for memes etc, I make sure that
before I switch off my day is as planned as I possibly, now I know the unexpected can happen at any time, so I factor some time in just in case. Always best to be on the safe side.
Now, I mentioned timers in my last point, this is quite important, and its one that I am getting used to as well, I actually log my hours now, as I found there were times where I would sit there and think ‘blinking heck where did today go’ and have that feeling of not achieving much. So, I use a timer for my client work and have been using it for my business time too (timer is on now as I write this blog!) this gives me a clear indication of how much time I am spending on client work vs my business time.
If you do not want to use a timer on your PC then you can always do the visual aid of a timesheet and block out time physically, it is what works for you. But you will start to see a pattern and you will see that you faff a lot too (I have a faff category on my timer!)
Set a duration
This may sound weird but give it a go. So, I know that I can lose HOURS yes HOURS sourcing images for my blogs or my memes, so I now set myself a duration, 30 mins a day or 2hrs a month etc to do that task, and set an alarm, it’s as plain as its simple, some tasks can literality suck up crazy amounts of time (social media being a biggie).
It is all about making sure you have the right balance of time on your tasks that need to get done to the ones that would be nice to do, we can’t run our businesses on doing the tasks we love, sadly that doesn’t work, we all must do those we dislike (or outsource them) both tasks go hand in hand. You will find if you spend too much time on those tasks you dislike you will start to procrastinate and put it off which is when things get out of hand.
This is so important to your day, sitting at your desk FORCING yourself to do things for hours, is going to only put a negative spin on your day and you will become disheartened, it is impossible to stay focused on any tasks loved or loathed for hours on end, we all need breaks, not just for our mind but for our body too. We need to get up and walk or stretch and clear your mind. So, schedule in short breaks every 1hr -1.5hrs your mind and body will thank you for it, trust me!
We are our worst critics, we are honestly the worst, we almost bully ourselves, if we don’t get something done on time, or we haven’t pulled 4 blogs out of thin air in an hour we chastise ourselves
and make ourselves feel incompetent! And why? Could you imagine your old boss doing this to you? You would be in HR filing a complaint, so why do we do it to ourselves? Be forgiving to yourself, you may not have done everything you wanted to for that day, if you haven’t managed to get something done that day when you go to plan for tomorrow and add that task onto your plan, schedule it in and give it a duration.
When being creative, you can’t force those creative juices, and sometimes in small batches, you get more done, instead of forcing hours of paper staring do lots of small blocks of 20 mins! Mornings are also better for me to create my content.
Don’t bully yourself! You are only human after all 💕
If there are tasks that you are constantly struggling with, instead of suffering why not think about outsourcing them, I am always happy to have a chat with you and see if I can help you moving forwards, book a discovery call with me and lets see if I can take some or even one of those dreaded tasks from you.