Discipline of being your own boss
The great thing about being your own boss is that you don’t have anyone looking over your shoulder or pushing you for deadlines. The bad thing about being your boss is there is no one there to tell you to get to work or checking to see how much you’ve accomplished.
Here are a few recommendations to help you stay focused and continue moving forward
- Make a to-do list. Organize your list so that it has one or two large projects or tasks to do. And then break those down into smaller easier tasks that you can do rather quickly. There is something very motivating about checking off accomplished tasks.
- Punch a time clock. No, you don’t have to actually get a time clock. What I’m saying is have a predetermined time for when you’re going to start, when you’re going to finish, and when you take breaks.
- Boss yourself. Some days you just won’t feel motivated, you would rather be doing something else, you feel tired, etc. These are all just excuses, DUMP THEM! Think of how demanding a boss would be on you and then say and expect the same things to yourself.
- Practice Time Management. At any given time we are in one of these four time management activities.
1.Important and Urgent – Crises and Emergencies. This is the putting out fires mode
2.Important but Not Urgent – Prevention, Planning, and Improvement. Spend most of your time here.
3.Not Important but Urgent – Interruptions and Busy Work. Don’t confuse urgent with important.
4.Not Important and Not Urgent- Avoid spending very much time here. These activities are time wasters.
- Eliminate Distractions. Setting up your workspace environment will have gone a long way towards eliminating those distractions that steal away our focus and are time wasters.
Dealing with Distractions,Harnessing the Big Five
The biggest distractors are; Family, Neighbors, Housework, Food and Drinks, and Social Media.
In the case of family and neighbors let everybody know ahead of time when your work hours are and that you’re not to be bothered then. You can even go so far as to print up a working schedule and post it so they will see when it’s your work time, and not bother you.
As far as dealing with housework, food, and social media you need to first give up the idea of trying to multi-task. It may be tempting to run to the fridge while you’re waiting on a document to download or throw in a batch of laundry between writing content pages. But trying to multi-task actually, makes you less productive and more open to getting distracted.
Have a predetermined time to accomplish household chores, make food runs, and interact on social media. This will result in higher productivity and less chance for distractions.
Creating a sense of urgency or deadline will also aid in minimizing distractions and increasing productivity. Set a timer to work for 45 minutes and create a goal to get so much accomplished in that time. Then take a 15-minute break, get a snack, do a little stretching or walking around. Create a reward for yourself for all the good work you’ve just done.
Setting up your environment
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean that you’re not operating a business. Make a dedicated workspace for yourself. It doesn’t have to be fancy it just needs to give you enough space to work without clutter and is separate from the rest of your household.
Whether you live in a luxurious condo or a cramped two-bedroom apartment, you can make any space work as a home office. Ideally, you would want to have a door you can close to cut off distractions.
Any space you choose to set up your home office is fine, just make sure it is dedicated to operating your business.
Now that you’ve decided on where your office space is going to be, you need to furnish it with a few essential items.
- A high-quality computer and monitor. Don’t skimp here! you are going to be using these tools a lot and you don’t want to have to worry about them breaking down or they are tiring to look at.
- A high-quality ergonomic chair. Since you will be spending a lot of time at your desk working on your website you want to make sure you are comfortable. You may also look into exercise balls and standing desks to make spending time at your desk a little more active.
- You will also want a printer. I would recommend getting a (print fax scan copy) all in one model.
- Put up a dry erase board. these are invaluable for brainstorming, and keeping notes on goals and work you have to do.
- A file cabinet and a catch-all drawer. To hold office sundries like pencils, paper clips, tape, scissors, staples, etc.
- If your eyes are anything like mine you will appreciate a nice desk lamp.
Maintaining a Social Life
Now, that you’ve created this distraction-free environment, and you’re totally focused on work. How do you maintain a social life? After all the whole point of all this hard work you’re doing is so that you can have more time to enjoy yourself isn’t it? So, here are several recommendations to keep your social life healthy.
- Make scheduled appointments with friends to have lunch or coffee.
- Join a club. Whether it’s the gym or a gardening group or a book club. Getting together with people who share the same interests is a great way to keep the social wheels turning.
- Spend one or two days a week working outside your home. Some places you might want to go could be a bookstore, the local park, a laid back coffee shop, a plush hotel lobby, the public library or any public space that has free Wi-Fi.
- Plan family gatherings and special occasions. Not only will this keep you socially interacting with family and friends but, having their social needs met from you, they won’t feel such a need to interrupt you while you’re working.
- Attend networking events. This is a great place to talk shop with people who share your same mindset about work. These events can give you new inspiration and motivation.
The biggest reason that people don’t succeed is because they give up too soon! Let’s face it there are times when work is going to be hard, when things go wrong, when it seems like nothing will ever pan out. This is where we need to have the motivation to pull us through.
Perhaps the greatest motivational tool is to start out with an understanding that it will get tough, and have a bulldog determination to keep on going. These are some things I use to keep myself focused and motivated.
- A physical reminder of why I’m doing this. For me, it’s a picture of my kids and grandkids. It reminds me that I want to be able to have time and money to spend with them.
- Motivational slogans. Using slogans helps me redirect my thinking and keeps me focused on doing what it takes to succeed.
- An affirmation mirror. I tape affirmations to a mirror and recite them while I’m looking at myself. This helps me to maximize my positive self-talk and minimize the negative self-talk.
- Reward yourself for small achievements and milestones. It’s easy to get so focused on what we’re trying to accomplish and reaching for our goals that we forget the achievements that we’ve already succeeded at. When you’re trudging to the top of a mountain it’s good to stop and check out the vistas on the way.
Organization and Keeping Records
Although this is perhaps the least glamorous part of operating a business it is one of the most crucial if you want to be able to manage a business efficiently and grow it profitably.
Two Main Reasons for Keeping Records.
- Monitoring the progress of your business. Good records will be able to show you; where your income is coming from, what it’s being spent on, strengths and weaknesses, what direction your business is growing in, and so on. Also, it will be easier to get a loan or sell your business with accurate records.
- Tax purposes. You will be able to prepare tax returns quicker and easier with good records available. In addition to making sure you’re claiming all the expenses you’re entitled to and avoiding over/under paying taxes. If you’re ever audited having good records will make the process much easier.
Keeping records may seem a bit overwhelming. The secret is to start with a system that is simple, fits your business model, and that you understand.(If it’s too complicated you won’t use it). Once you have your system in place make it part of your daily routine to record all your business transactions.
Create an organized space to keep all your records that is easily accessible.(File cabinets do well for this, or you can scan everything and store them on a computer).
Alternatively, keep all your receipts, invoices, statements, etc. and turn them over to a bookkeeper once a month.
Remember to enjoy yourself and have fun.
If you have any questions or comments I would love to hear from you.