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You started working at home because of a great idea, a dream. “This is going to be great!” you said. Then started the vicious cycle of not getting anything done, becoming a workaholic, rooting your identity in how much you got done, and back again.

Here’s how to cut the crap, set good systems in place, and live life well.

Boundaries

You need business hours. Decide what days and hours work best for you to focus on your business. Let people know what those hours are by following them yourself. You can tell people on your website or in your email signature.

You need a break, too. Take one or two days a week off of business work. Take vacation time, as well. Set certain parts of the year aside especially for it. Prepare for that. Let your loved ones and people you work with know about it. You will only burn yourself out if you fail to take the time to rest from your work.

Know what to schedule and what not to schedule after working hours and on your vacation time:

Do schedule an auto-responder if you are going to be away for more than the weekend. It keeps people from freaking out and sending you more emails.

Don’t schedule social media posts during the time you are away, either. It gives people the idea that you are present when you aren’t.

If you do schedule social media posts during vacation time, let your community know that you’re taking vacation, and that there will be someone overseeing social media for you. Then, have that person check your accounts every day and interact with people.

 

Organization

There are two types of people who work: those who run on to-do lists, and those who don’t. Either way can leave any person feeling overwhelmed and in an unaccomplished funk. We first need to realize that our identity is not in what we accomplish. After that, the best system I have found to implement is asking myself, at the beginning of each day, what my three most important things are (per Tsh Oxenreider’s Daily Docket). While you are working, constantly ask yourself if you are working on one of those three things. It’s the best of both worlds.

You may want to put your most important things into list form. The simplest to-do list is either paper or a note on your phone. Wunderlist. Asana and Basecamp are the bomb for organizing and working on group projects.

 

Space

Working from home can be good, but sometimes becomes too comfortable, to the point where it drowns spirit, productivity, and professionalism. Make sure your workspace at home doesn’t interfere with other important things. Use the space that works best for you and the ones around you.  Set your workspace up as a productive, professional space that reminds you why you started working there in the first place.

You need to work in-person with other people some days, too. Often times, we put too much of a load on social media and the comforts it allows us, to the point where it can be damaging. It doesn’t make up for the lack of us being present in people’s lives. We need to mingle with strangers and work friends a lot more. Go to a coffee shop, and make sure to introduce yourself and your work to a stranger. Be confident! Invite a work friend who inspires you to work in your space. Organize or join a meetup of people in similar work fields. Whatever you do, get yourself out of the house, and mingle with other people! You will end up:

  • Promoting your work in one of the best, most genuine ways
  • Supporting and developing relationships others
  • Growing as a business person
  • and creating good opportunities.

Go forth and work productively. Make good companies.