Two critical practices for people who work at home (this includes writers)
If You Don’t Work – You Don’t Get Paid
Lesson #1 – Work Five Days a Week
You must do this whether you want to or not – five days a week minimum. Your livelihood depends on it. Working from home can be a challenge. It’s too easy to slack off. BUT . . . if you do not work, you will not get paid! It is important to set “working hours”; have a plan on how you will use those precious hours; and stick to the plan. Avoid distractions of all kinds – including TV in the background.
Have a place to work – even if it is a desk in the corner. Then, stay at that desk until the day is done. Of course, you must take breaks every hour (but short ones) and you must stop for lunch. Set a time limit for both and stay within the limit. If you don’t – 10 minute breaks can turn into an hour and a 30-minute lunch can turn into the whole afternoon.
Enlisting your family’s support by asking them to agree to respect your working hours and to understand that during working hours you are unavailable. Depending on your family situation, your working hours may have to be early morning and after bedtime in the evening. Find out what works for you and then make it happen.
The key to success is discipline!
(The best part is that you do not have to get up and shower, shave (or put on make-up) and travel miles to get to work.)
Lesson #2: Keep ON – Keeping On!
When you are self-employed, you have to wear all the hats, which is exhausting. There are simply not enough hours in the day to do it everything that must be done. Plus, you must constantly face the reality that there are facets of your business that are not in your wheelhouse! Those tasks can eat up hours of time and basically drive you crazy.
Obviously, the best solution is to hire others to take care of the tasks that challenge you because you do not have the skill set or experience – or, you really don’t like to do them (even if you can.) Unfortunately, when you first strike out on your own, cash flow can be so tight that hiring others is not an option and you are forced to do it all.
My recommendations are (if you are in that situation):
- Make a list of everything that must be done.
- Categorize the tasks – 5 or 6 categories are best. (For example: Research and Writing; E-mails/telephone calls/forums/social media; Blog Posts; Marketing/Promotions; Administration)
- Prioritize the tasks within each category.
- Decide what percentage of your day should be allotted for each category, allowing sufficient time for the category that is the core of your business. (For example: As a writer, most of my time must be spent writing.)
- Set up a daily schedule – allotting the appropriate amount of time for each category.
- Follow the schedule!
- Stop at the end of the allotted time period and move onto tasks in the next category – always starting with the top priority task.
The keys to success when working from home are: organization, discipline, and to keep on keeping on!
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