“*Opening eyes* It looks gloomy out. *Rolls over and grabs phone next to head* Let me check my emails and delete/organize before I get out of bed. Crap, 40 minutes has passed! Ok, I’ll shower later. Time to respond to my East Coast client. *Email typing* Ooh, 4 key steps to harness your brand’s power. *Beep, beep* Got a video message from fiancé at academy training. *Ring, ring* Another voicemail added to the pile of moving companies calling to quote our upcoming big move to Texas. How is it 10:30am already? It’s so-and-so’s birthday, I better leave a note on Facebook for them. I really need to eat. Better yet, I really need to go to the bathroom and take a shower. *Scrub a dub dub* Ok, basic needs met. Time to approve some creative for the client. *Dinggg* Conference call in 2 minutes. *Insert amazing insight* Time to research some wedding venue stuff. Pinterest will be helpful. Ooh, a table made from pallate wood. *Clock strikes 2pm* Back on track, time to do some major reading for school. This could really apply to my startup idea. *Writing, scribbling* There goes another two hours. Headache…need to eat! Eww, these floors really need be washed. Inhalation of food complete. Sh*t it’s 6:30pm?! I really need to get some blood flowing and real vitamin D on this vampire skin. *Sprinting up stairs* If I offload my lease and buy a cheaper car to reduce payments I can funnel that money into the new house. Speaking of, I need to call those realtors when I get back. *Ring, ring* So now I need to research FHA loans. *Clock strikes 11pm* I should really watch some TV or do something to unwind before bed. *Laying down in bed* I feel like I’ve accomplished hardly anything today. Oh, well I’ll get it done tomorrow.”
Work from home; be your own boss; set your own hours. All those statements sound so freeing and limitless until you realize that those things can be bad things too. Being an entrepreneur from your home means there’s no clocking in or clocking out, no manager or boss to tell you what your priorities are or that clean division between work time and home time. I’ve worked from home once in awhile when I was someone’s employee and always loved rolling out of bed and working in my pajamas. I got so much accomplished! Now that I work 100% from home and have mounting responsibilities from multiple clients, a startup to work on, graduate school, massive life changes coming in a few months, etc. I’ve seen how easily my hours get wasted, days rolling into each other and I end up not seeing major progress in any of the areas.
I attributed my lack of results to distractions, lack of prioritization and scheduling mainly. My plate is so full with so many different things that my brain literally feels like it’s jumping around inside from topic to topic, project to project. I work a little on each one, millimetering each one a tiny step forward, in all, moving at a snail’s pace to the finish. The days are filled with research and foundation building, preparation and day-to-day management – stuck in the weeds.
So, coming from a person that resists over scheduling and planning, here’s my tips on what’s helping me to move in the direction of progress.
1. Prioritization – I’m a fly-by-my-seat kind of person that loves to “see what happens.” But that mentality doesn’t work when you’ve got client demands and other things to do. Instead, I now plan my day the night before. Nothing crazy. Just jot down my priorities for the day to help keep me on track. It’s amazing how a little list can keep me accountable to myself.
2. Me First! – Gone are the days of me forgetting to eat or not going to the restroom when I need to because I just need to finish this last sentence. Ok, maybe they aren’t gone but I’ve made myself a priority. Make myself breakfast and get freshened up BEFORE I sit down to start doing any work. Schedule my workout time so I can’t bail on myself. Sounds simple but it’s the first thing to go whenever people get busy (ask your mom, she knows).
3. Time Blocking – My swift movements from item to item were leaving me feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and a lack of achievement. The only way I’m going to make any big progress on any of my to-do’s is if I dedicate a chunk of time to do so. Enter time blocking. Simply blocking off hours of time to dedicate to one activity. Read that again, ONE activity. I usually associate a time with the items I prioritize the night before to make it easy. Some people actually schedule meetings for themselves in their calendars. Whatever works for you.
4. Social Media Avoidance – Pretend Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, SnapChat, and whatever other networks you’re on are that ex-boyfriend you can’t stand to see. Avoid at all costs. For me this is really tough because I love learning and get tons of inspiration, insights and ideas from articles and images shared online but now I’m only time blocking and am dedicating a set time period to explore the big wide cavern that is the web aimlessly. So don’t be surprised if you see a ton of activity from me in a 30 minute block…it’s just social media time.
My new work from home organization is still new to me and definitely will need to evolve as I continue to get in my own way but so far, so good. What about you? Tell me in the comments how you achieve things when your plate is beyond full? Any cool tips or tools that you use and recommend?
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