Many of our mentees, and indeed mentors, work from their own home. When you start up a business it is quite likely that cash flow will mean you can’t (yet) afford a separate office space or workshop, and as many sole traders and freelancers will report, procrastination at the desk can result in lower efficiency, productivity issues and frustration. So, in order to put into effect those time -management tips you know you need to follow, how can you make the best use of working from home? After all, being your own boss is one of the reasons you became self-employed in the first place isn’t it? Here are Cornerstone’s 5 tips for successful home-working. The five ‘gs’ of being your own boss.
Get some exercise: It might seem strange to offer this as a first step, but getting up half an hour earlier than usual to take a quick walk around the block, or follow a regular yoga routine before you even sit at your desk has been shown to increase productivity. Getting the blood pumping makes you more alert and better able to tackle the to-do list.
Get out to networking events and meet clients outside the office: It is really easy to become lonely whilst working from home and although social media can help, it can become part of the problem when time spent online is not directly benefitting your business. If you find networking events in your area don’t live up to your expectations, are full of the ‘wrong’ people for your business, why not think about starting one yourself? That is one positive way to use twitter and Facebook, for example, and you can meet in a local cafe to reduce the initial costs of a get-together.
Give housework the heave-ho: It is surprising how attractive the hoovering or the washing up looks when the next thing on the to-do list is a difficult phone call or a tricky tax problem for example. However, these chores can wait, and more stress will be caused by an irate customer or accountant for example, than a pile of dishes. Leave them until later!
Give up grazing: It is easy to forget how much food you have consumed when you constantly pick at small amounts all day whilst sitting at your desk. Even if you are eating healthy snacks the calories can add up and that bottom will soon begin to spread across the edges of the chair, especially if you also fail to follow our first ‘g’. Those working for an employer in an office are often asked not to eat at their desks, and it is a generally unhealthy habit, as even a twenty-minute break offers your brain time to switch off and recharge. At the same time, have a bottle of water on the desk, rather than break concentration by constant trips to the kettle. Walking to the kitchen and back is a good way to stretch your legs, but water will keep you as perky as constant caffeine injections.
Give yourself a break: Many self-employed people work at the weekends and think they have the advantage over their employer bound contemporaries. It can be true that whilst working for yourself you can take advantage of a day of sunshine and head to the beach when others are stuck inside. However, the work still has to be done and be wary of spending evenings and weekends making up for time away from your desk. It can become a habit, and one that results in both weekdays and weekends becoming ‘work days’. Don’t get us wrong, working for yourself might require you to work 24/7, especially in the early days, but late nights and little time away from the desk can result in all sorts of stresses, on you and your family.
So what do you make of these tips? Have you any others you would like to share?
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