Making Work, Work From Home (as a creative business owner)
I wake up everyday at 10am and roll out of bed and onto the couch with my computer, coffee and pajamas. I yawn and do an upper body stretch as I check what email I’ve gotten. I set the computer down and switch on Netflix until I get ‘past the sleepies.’ And then by the afternoon I call it quits and head out for fun.
Naw! Just kidding, that’s not what my day looks like! And if it was, well, I’d be in trouble and my business wouldn’t be what it is.
Working from isn’t a walk in the park and a permanent pajama-party (well I guess you are the boss, so you can decide your own work uniform).
I can say it’s liberating. I love the creative control and that I can dictate how I work. But with that you need to know how to stay focused and develop discipline. Because, sure, you can binge watch Girls on HBO (and no one will be the wiser) but your work will suffer.
So how do you make work, work from home??
This should be one of the first things you establish. When you work from home, it’s easy to let your home life bleed into business life. If you can designate a portion of your home that is just for work, do it. This doesn’t need to be a closed-off room. If that’s not available to you, perhaps just a corner with a desk. And as much as possible, keep your work explicitly located at that desk!
You should also have clear communications and expectations with your family. Let them know this is your workspace and these are your working hours. Help them to understand that you need everyone to respect this, so you can focus on work and then during off-hours be present for your family.
Now I understand, with kids it can be tricky. Often you sneak in work during nap hours! If you have the means, try finding a babysitter or daycare during working hours (even if you have to set partial days for yourself). If you absolutely can’t do that, then during those moments you can sneak in and work, make sure you block out all other distractions so you can focus and get down to business.
Let me tell you a little story. Once upon a time I had a boss. My boss would tell me what to do. My boss set my goals, and believe me, if I didn’t meet them, he was there to ask ‘why the hell not!’ Fast forward, I’m the boss. I tell me what to do, and being the stubborn, defiant one that I am… I decide ‘he’s not my boss anymore, I can do whatever I want!’ Meaning, there is some slacking off.
Do you see what happened there? Accountability is harder to find when you are the boss, especially in those early days of being a stay-at-home-boss. And since you are entirely responsible for your success, you need to build your own accountability system.
This could be sharing your goals and action items with a friend or partner. They don’t have to be punishing you for not meeting goals, but even having shared sets your mind up to want to now complete that task. Even better would be to find other entrepreneurs with similar goals. You can help each other out and hold one another accountability.
KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
So often as stay-at-home-entrepreneurs we find ourself lost in the day-to-day. It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. Heck, you may not even have taken the time to consider big picture! What are you doing all of this for? Is it independence? Is it to have freedom to spend time with your family? Is it to be able to get your family a house on the beach? The reason doesn’t matter, the thing that matters is you have a reason! Spend time everyday thinking about that reason and visualizing your big picture.
BREAK DOWN YOUR GOALS INTO MILESTONES
Even though you are working towards a larger goal, it helps to stay motivated by having micro-goals. These are stepping stones to your big picture goal.
Let me share how I do this. I break down my big picture year goal(s) into quarter, monthly and then weekly micro-goals/actions. So every week when I accomplish what I was supposed to I know it’s time to celebrate. It doesn’t have to be a trip to Disneyland every time-my last milestone celebration I bought myself succulents! Just knowing you get to celebrate and then patting yourself on the back can be the motivation to push you to the next step. (This also serves as a form of accountability!)