Working from home is the dream of many people, as it allows for a much greater freedom and flexibility of schedule than a 9-5 office job, or any other job I’ve done really. Having been working online from my laptop for almost 2 years now, I can attest to how amazing it feels to decide if you want to put on an alarm clock or not, take the day off to go swim, not shave, wear sweatpants or shorts everyday while working in hotels, cafés or in bed. But for me the most appealing aspect of being an entrepreneur is definitely to not have a boss to report to. Oh and also to take long naps. Still, there are several challenges to face as a work-at-home entrepreneur, the main one I would say is maintaining your motivation as you face challenges growing your business or become bored of repetitive and less creative tasks than when you initially designed everything, while a second-close is to have good self-discipline in order to be successful.
There are a lot of distractions at home, which may affect your productivity. The morning is one of the most important part of the day, as it sets the tone for what you will accomplish, whether you will be efficient or just busy, and whether you’ll make time for offline activities, such as exercising, enjoying the outdoors, or reading a paper book in bed. Waking up to an alarm clock and commuting to work prepare us mentally for the tasks we need to get done during our 8 hours in the office (really just working 5…), but when we work for ourselves, this does not happen and organization and discipline therefore becomes a little more challenging and important.
Here are three tips to help you increase productivity:
1- Develop a Routine
The best trick for have and maintain high performance working from home is to maintain a daily routine. Ideally, you should have set working hours to start and finish your work. Get up in the morning and get ready to work, just as if you were in a normal job. Take a shower, have a good breakfast, and before checking your email or Facebook remember what you did the day before. Important tasks you dread should naturally come to mind. Set to tackle or complete 1 of these for the day and determine how many hours this will take you, then add 2 hours. This will help your brain prepare for another day. I also personally recommend not having social media notifications on your phone; people with important things to discuss, whether it’s business or where to go enjoy some sun that day, know to call. If not tell them. I also no longer use any email notification app or extension on my computer, and instead try to look at all my email accounts once in the morning and a second time at the end of my day.
2- Look at your Agenda
Having an agenda with your work to be completed is crucial in organizing your day and prioritizing tasks. Early in the morning, the first thing to do when sitting at your desk is to look at your agenda. Aside from getting everything organized, it’s also a great motivation tool. I personally recommend using both a monthly visual calendar as this makes it easy to see what you have to do and plan, and the Eisenhower matrix diagram to differentiate between and prioritize what’s urgent and important (often mundane tasks like paying off bills, managing orders, or managing your staff managing orders), what’s not urgent but important (your projects and biggest ambitions, which is where we should spend as much of our time as possible, especially in the mornings when have a clear and creative mind, instead of checking your email for example), and what’s not urgent and not important, which you should just eliminate or keep writing on your next matrix until you decide one day to either delve in this project or eliminate it.
3- Set the Work to Complete & Finish it Before Dusk
As explained above one of the best ways to motivate yourself in the morning is to determine the work you want to have completed for the day. How about aiming to end those big tasks by lunch time? That way you can spend a few hours of the afternoon outdoors, and offline (being offline is my new big thing – as I’m sure you know it’s actually almost stressful to do so -like that day you forgot your phone at home-, but it’s actually amazing. My mind is very creative while offline. Maybe if you’re just starting your online business journey such as with an e-commerce drop shipping store you’re actually working 14 hour days (or more… not advised), but after a while and once you’ve outsourced your front-end operations say to India or The Philippines, if you’re up by 6am it’s very realistic to have completed you main daily task by lunch time, enjoy the afternoon at the pool or in nature (you can always work another hour or two there), and get some vitamin D. Always consider doing *less. In the morning we are less tired, and it may well be the time of day when you produce more and of higher-quality. And remember, the more you do in the morning, the sooner you can go outdoors!
Try these 3 morning life hacks for work-at-home entrepreneurs and see how more productive you become, and how much more free time you will manage to allow yourself.