Working for yourself at home can seem really exciting when you dread going into your day job. But ask anyone who currently works from home and you’ll discover that it’s not all champagne, roses, and cha-chings. Running a business takes a lot of work and it honestly doesn’t matter if you’re a business to business or a business to consumer model. There’s a lot of things around the house to distract you and a lack the accountability that comes from working in an office for someone else. This post is going to get a little saucy but also provide you with ways you can be successful at home.
Get Dressed Daily
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I’m a big fan of “getting dressed” in the morning even though you work in the house. I’m not talking about a professional outfit, heck, I say yoga pants are fine, but change out of whatever you wore to bed last night. You don’t have to be a psychologist to know that this small act can help switch your mindset from home-body to boss-babe.
Eat Food Regularly
One of my biggest struggles when I first started working at home (happy 2 year anniversary to me - Sept 2, 2016!!) was not eating consistently. I would drink coffee all morning and maybe eat some goldfish at 2pm. This is not healthy. Again, this is not healthy. It is not a source of pride or a badge of honor to say “I worked all day and didn’t remember to eat, haha”. You have got to take care of yourself mentally and physically. After losing my mom and her parents all to heart failure, I’ve tried to get healthy and sitting all day (whether at home or your day job) is just not beneficial to anyone. You need food to keep you mind sharp. If you don’t like breakfast, find some type of food bar or shake you can grab quickly. I’ve even converted to an overnight oats girl (thanks, roomie Julie!) and make at least 3 on Sunday afternoon, then I pre-portion out my salads for the week too. This gives you no excuse to grab something quick.
I also recommend stepping away to eat your main meals. I tried to make myself eat my oats in the kitchen before sitting at my desk and then lunch on the back porch or kitchen table. Now that I work at a co-working space, I do eat at my desk but I don’t work while I’m eating.
Work in Spurts
A new mom asked me recently for advice on working from home. I’m not a mom, so I didn’t have anyone relying on me for food and entertainment during the day. Whether you have kids at home or not, it is so easy to get distracted by household chores - dishwasher, laundry, cleaning, etc. My advice is to set a timer for 30-45 min or an hour, use your Daily Business Hour Checklist, and get to work. I work best with music or a tv show playing in the background (hello, 45 minute episodes!), so find what holds you to your work and get it done.
Take a Break
Speaking of spurts, I also encourage you to take a break every now and then. Get up, walk around the house, swap the laundry, eat a snack, stretch. Set a timer or a task for this or else an hour or two will go by and you’re off your streak. I know Fitbits can ding every hour to let you know it’s time to move, which I find very helpful. Again, getting in a quick walk after lunch is a healthy thing to do! This is also the time to be active on social media. If you find yourself going down an Instagram rabbit hole, only let yourself touch your phone in between tasks and on your 10 minute breaks.
Turn it Off
This covers quite a few things, but we’ll start with social media. I don’t get notifications for every “like” on Instagram because then I get distracted everytime it goes off. Plus its a dopamine trick thing, and the Instagram algorithm can be so frustrating, that I just don’t need to know how my posts are doing every single second. That said, I do have notifications for messages and comments turned on, so like with my emails, I know I need to respond on my next break. Moving on to emails; if you want to start creating boundaries in your business, there is really no need to have emails on your phone. It seems like a good idea, but if you’re on your computer you should / could have your email pulled up in a tab, so what is the point of having it notify you on your phone too? Set a designated time to check and respond to emails. You need to be available to clients and potential clients, but they really don’t need 24/7 access to you. They just don’t. Okay last point here. You need to set an end time for your business. Now I know some of you will say “but I can only work after the kids go to bed” and that is OK but you don’t need to be working at 3am. By setting the correct boundaries and work ethic in your business, you don’t need to hustle 24/7. Just look at Elon Musk. His story breaks my heart. Don’t let this be yours.
Be Your Boss
I could go on and on about different things you could or should be doing at home to be successful, but it comes down to one thing: BE YOUR BOSS. Mr. Musk’s story is two-fold here. I am NOT advocating for the hamster wheel life, but he is successful because he knows how to use most of his time well. At the end of the day, you have to decide if owning and running a business. No one else can do it for you. You could hire out everything to contract workers, but that’s a lot of money out the door. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about working less, but that means my time spent working has to be focused and productive. I love to travel (week day flights are the best!) and spend time with my family and meet friends for lunch. But I also want to be successful, so yes, I put in late hours when needed, but I also put in the work during my work hours. Put your boss pants on.
If you’re ready to commit to being successful, but you know you need a little more accountability than just yourself and your spouse, bf or roommates just.don’t.get.it. I’d love to be your Boss Babe Mentor and help you succeed! Let’s set up a time to chat about your business and your life to make a plan that works for you.