Working from home requires a lot of focus. How do you stay focused when you’re in your own environment without a time clock to punch? Here are 6 tips to help you stay focused and accomplish more than you ever thought possible.
When people hear I work for myself (mostly at home), more often than not, I hear a big “Ahhhh.” And then in a dreamy voice, “I would LOVE to be able to work from home…no commute…I could stay in my pajamas all day…no boss telling me what to do…” Maybe you’ve thought that, too (I know I did). There are some really great perks to working from home. I wouldn’t trade it.
BUT. The reality is, it’s also hard. Hard to stay focused when the dishes need washing, it’s a nice day and the dog wants to go on a walk, it’s a cold morning and your tired and want to stay in bed (and you won’t get fired if you do), your partner/family/friends plan something in the middle of your work time and you don’t want to miss it.
There are a million things coming at us daily. It’s hard to stay focused on what needs to get done. Here are six tips to help you stay focused, reel in that distraction, and get very clear on what you’re doing.
Never forget your WHY.
Why are you running your own business? What gets you out of bed every morning? What is the long-term hope for your life?
If you haven’t taken time to really dig deep into what you’re doing what you’re doing, stop now and figure it out. Running your own business is NOT for the faint of heart. If you aren’t clear on why you’re doing it, you’ll crash and burn when it gets tough.
I heard a great quote recently: Decide what kind of life you actually want then say NO to everything that isn’t it.
Figure out who your IDEAL CUSTOMER is. (It isn’t everyone, no matter what people might say).
Focus on that idea customer and get to know them inside and out. And market to just THEM. When you know who you’re talking to and the needs that they have, it simplifies your process and helps you to focus. You aren’t trying to meet the needs of everyone, everywhere.
Set your schedule and stick to it.
Figure out what works for you and your life. Don’t listen to what you SHOULD BE doing. One of the reasons you’re in business for yourself is because you want your job to fit your life. So, if that’s early mornings or late nights, figure out your sweet spot. And stick to it.
If you don’t take yourself (and your schedule and work time) seriously, how can you expect others treat your work time sacred?
Focus for concentrated times and then take a break.
Schedule time in short blocks—30-50 minutes. And in that time, don’t do ANYTHING ELSE. Turn off your phone. Ignore your inbox. Completely eliminate or block out any distraction. And give those 30-50 minutes 120% of your effort. Then take a break. Forget about work for 10-15 minutes. Stretch. Go for a quick walk. Grab a glass of water. Refocus and hit it again.
While it might seem like the above exercise is a waste of time, you’d be surprised at how much MORE work you get done and how much easier it is to accomplish. Work hard and take breaks. That’s how your brain likes to work.
Figure out HOW you run your business.
Are you going to connect to people via email, scheduled calls, video chat? Will you respond immediately or answer your phone/email at set times during the day?
Rough out your entire month, but plan your weeks at the beginning of the week. Schedule in those things that are important (both in your work life as well as your personal life). If it’s not on the schedule, there’s a good chance it will get lost in the shuffle of life.
Schedule the last task of your work day to plan tomorrow. This way you’ll wake up with the plan and can hit the ground running.
Take at least one day off per week.
Running a business 24/7 might seem like a good idea, but it’s a great way to burn out. Besides, did you decide to work for yourself to be your worst boss? Schedule time off. At least one day per week where you’re not working AT ALL on your business. Don’t even turn the computer on, if you can help it. Studies show if you take time off, you’re actually more creative and rested and do a better job when you’re at work. Rest becomes a win/win.
Show up. Give your business your all. Schedule in hourly and weekly breaks. Know what you stand for and what you’re aiming for. Treat your job like the important business it is. And don’t forget to have fun.
FOCUS: Follow One Course Until Successful
There you are, six tips to help you stay focused. If you implement the above steps, you will be surprised at how much time you have leftover after your tasks are done. There should be MORE freedom in working for yourself and not less. Let’s take back our time and our businesses! It’s possible with a few little tweaks.