It's 8am and you're about to step into another satisfying work day. Surrounded by your essential tools including your computer, fax, and phone you plunk down at your desk, coffee in hand, and pull up your calendar to assess the day ahead. No traffic, no suit and tie, no killer heals. It's just you, your checklist and a productive day ahead. Where to begin?
Then you realize that sleep still lies heavily on your eyelids, you recall tripping over the tall stack of laundry on your way to the bathroom, and the lawn never did get mowed over the weekend. So much to do - so many temptations. How does the solopreneur survive the many opportunities to be pulled away from business and keep her sanity in check?
Many solopreneurs feel the tug between personal obligations and their business. I often hear confessions of guilt from home-based solopreneurs for spending too much time in the office and not enough on household chores or visa versa, yet they don't feel productive in either space. The question appears to be, how do we divide our time, become more productive, and let go of the guilt? There are ways to to achieve this. Here are just a few of the basic tips that I cover more extensively in my productivity audio download.
1. Get things out of your head and onto paper; it helps to decrease your mental stress. Create your "to do" list. Now, creating the list is only a part of the goal. Make sure you schedule time on your calendar to DO these tasks. That is the trick.
2. Turn off the phone, social media accounts, and email while you are focused on other tasks. Give yourself the time and space away from the outside world to maintain some uninterrupted blocks of time in your schedule.
3. Schedule time for personal chores and errands. If you know when you will get these things out of the way, and that the time is a part of your schedule, you can allow your brain to focus on the task at hand, rather than playing the guilt tapes in the background of your thoughts.
4. Don't restrict your work space to the home office. Is there work that you could do at the local coffee shop, bookstore, or library? It does wonders for the socializer in all of us to have time rubbing elbows with the human race everyday!
5. Just as you would if you worked in a corporation, let friends and relatives know that you are not available during certain times of the day. This is a REAL business you're running and it's up to you to set the boundaries for others to acknowledge and respect that.
6. Take breaks! Your brain is capable of focusing intently for up to 2 hours, and then things begin to get muddled. Stretch, walk, have a healthy snack, get a dose of love from your kids or pets, and drink lots of water to keep refreshed and motivated.
7. Get involved in outside activities. Because personal and work life become so closely associated with one another when you work from the home, it's easy to fall into the trap of living your work. What else do you enjoy? Socialize in ways that stimulate your brain in a different way and that satisfy your body's need for exercise. Have fun! It's important to your body, mind, and spirit!
There are so many more tips and tricks, but these are the basics. What do you do to maintain your sanity, diminish guilt, and get things to done? Share with us here on The Million Dollar Mindset for Solopreneurs!
Last updated: Sep 15, 2009
MARLA TABAKA is a small-business adviser who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness. @MarlaTabaka