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As you transition to working from home, you might find your newfound freedom both a blessing and a challenge. You’re away from the 9-5 grind, finally free to be your own boss when and how you please, but do you have the discipline, self-awareness, and patience to make it work long-term?
There’s no doubt that working from home can supercharge your productivity if you come at the task clear-eyed and be honest with yourself. None of us are perfect and we need to recognize where we might struggle with homework.
Now you’re free to work when and how you please, are you the type of person who might procrastinate and leave important tasks to be completed last? Or will you find yourself constantly pushing too hard to please everyone, burning yourself out?
Fascinating Entrepreneurship Statistics:
- 62% of US billionaires are self-made.
- 60% of people who start small businesses are between the ages of 40 and 60.
- There are 582 million entrepreneurs in the world.
The Myth of the Invulnerable Entrepreneur
As entrepreneurs, we often think we’re invincible. We can push ourselves to the breaking point thanks to faulty advice telling us that all we need is to work hard and we’ll succeed. If we fail, it’s because we didn’t work hard enough, right?
In my experience, more entrepreneurs fail from burnout than from lack of ambition. As we constantly push ourselves, we begin to get tired, we make mistakes, and our service suffers. We begin to hyper-focus on unimportant parts of our business because we’ve not taken the time to step back and re-assess.
Instead, find your peak operating hours and do your best work within them.
What Are Your Peak Operating Hours?
Most people have high productivity periods and low productivity periods. “Morning people” and “night owls” are terms you’ll know and you’ll already know when your high productivity hours are personally. Does it take you a few coffees to get going in the morning? Do you get distracted by family after 4 pm?
Think about how you can build your work schedule around your most productive periods. You can still do work during other times, but save some of those more mundane, easier tasks for when you’re not at your best.
Use Set Work Hours – But Only if This Works for Your Business
If you need to be communicating with your customers in real-time like a 9-5 job then it makes sense to set standard work hours that you adhere to. You’ll be able to better compartmentalize your work and family life and you’ll have downtime from the daily grind.
This is a common tip you’ll see about working from home and it is fantastic for many types of business. But in the modern age, it’s not always practical and doesn’t always make sense. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be thinking about your business 24/7 and want to jot down ideas. You’ll probably have customers and clients contacting your business from around the world in other time zones. Sometimes there will be urgent problems that you can snuff out with just a few minutes of work here and there.
An estimated 62% of Americans want to be their own boss, but that doesn’t mean they’re actually out there building the businesses of their dreams. People think the biggest barrier to entrepreneurship is time or money, but often, the real reason people don’t start businesses is that they’re afraid to fail.
Become Your Own Life Coach
If you want to work more fluidly and ditch the set hours, that’s OK. You just need to become hyper-aware of how much you’re working, how much you can handle, and whether you’re doing too much. You need to be more conscious of your sleeping, eating, and socializing habits and periodically be doing a ‘self-check’ to ensure you’re not pushing yourself too hard.
Even when you want to work hours that are more sporadic, you’ll still need to set aside some time for the ‘meat’ of your business where you need to get the real work done without distraction.
Where Are You Wasting Time?
Be realistic about what you can achieve and spend time away from your core business thinking of ways to streamline and simplify your workflow. At the end of each working day, look back at what took you lots of time to do. Can you find ways to do it faster next time? Can it be automated? Outsourced? Eliminated completely?
If working from home is causing you to get distracted by family or other concerns, you’ll need to set stronger boundaries and reinforce rules. You don’t have to lock yourself away from your kids every day, but it should be you in control of when to play with them and not them rushing into your home office willy-nilly.
Working from home gives you a few different challenges to overcome but it usually results in a huge boost in productivity. Be honest with yourself about your abilities, strengths, and weaknesses, set your work hours accordingly, and monitor your progress. You’ll soon find that you’re a work-from-home powerhouse and your business will thrive.