Making the decision to become an independent consultant, contractor, or freelancer is not an easy one and it comes with a mountain of obstacles when you start. Working for oneself can be an amazing opportunity for those who are up to the challenge. Once you master making your day as productive as possible, you are well on your way to succeeding in whatever independent venture you pursue. Follow these simple tips and your transition will be smooth.
Start a simple routine that you follow as if you were working in a corporate environment. Establish a schedule for your day and adhere to it as closely as possible. It does not matter what time of day you work, only that the time spent is as productive as possible. The structure of a schedule helps you avoid those annoying distractions that eat away your time. Now more than ever, time is money.
Take a Break
Just because you work at home doesn’t mean you should stop taking breaks. In fact it is even more important that you step away for a few minutes every hour or so. An aching back, sore wrist, or strained eyes are sure to put a big dent in your productivity. You should maintain a break and lunch schedule just like your corporate counterparts.
Limit Internet Surfing
Social media, news stories, and stock tickers are just a few of the internet offerings that can leave you wondering where the day went. Instead of trying to avoid them altogether, set time aside during your workday to focus on them. Knowing you will be checking in at specific times each day lets you feel connected without the need to check for updates every few minutes. The key here is to stick to your scheduled times and keep each one as short as possible.
Every home office requires a dedicated space. Working at your kitchen table isn’t a good long-term solution and greatly hinders productivity. Your workspace must be comfortable and include all of the equipment you require to do your job. More important still is a door that shuts out the distraction of your home, keeps phone calls quiet, and lets others in the home know you are not available.
When you work in an office, networking takes place without much thought. When you work at home, you have to put a great deal of effort into growing and maintaining your network. Attending events and seminars related to your field keeps you in touch with trends, leads to new clients, and enables you to build relationships with people you can call when you need advice or help with difficult projects.
When you first begin your journey as an independent entrepreneur, you will likely be doing the job of many people all by yourself. You are the accountant, operations manager, computer technician, sales team, customer service agent, and all the other possible jobs associated with a business. As your success grows, you will likely see ways to contract out some of these jobs so you can focus on your area of expertise. Knowing where your time is most valued makes it clear which duties should be outsourced first.
Following the preceding guidelines will help simplify your working life and lead to a more productive, happy you. Some days will be more productive than others though, so try not to stress out about losing a few hours here and there due to unavoidable circumstances. The key to success is finding the balance that works best for you.
What secret productivity weapon helps get you through the day?
By Doug Hanson