If you are a female business owner who spends most of your time working alone in a home office – as I do – you need to have discipline to keep on target with your projects. As women we find it really difficult to ignore the laundry or shopping list or the mess left after the weekend, but to take your business seriously this is something you have to do. I myself have found this difficult but these are some of the tips that help me stay focused:
- Remember that your business brings in money – doing the washing or cleaning doesn’t, so working on your business pays you (unless you can invoice your family for the other household drudgery!) Pay someone else who’s hourly rate is lower than yours to do those chores – it’s money well spent and you can focus that time on your business, and help the economy by employing someone else!
- Keep your surrounding area tidy and organised. I know that if my office or desk is messy I just can’t focus. Make orderly piles or create files to keep individual projects separate. I have coloured ring binders and plastic files for each client and project so that any paperwork is always to hand. I also use google calendar with sub calendars for each client and project so that I can schedule work and then overlay the calendars to see my week’s work in one place. It also syncs to my phone so I always have it with me.
- Only keep in your office what you need or love. Old finished projects and rubbish are a distraction, but having flowers, music and nice surroundings can motivate you.
- Have an ideas folder, both physical and virtual. I rip pages from magazines and dump them in an ideas folder or file ideas in a folder on my laptop for articles that I have read online. Keep a note book or use your phone’s voice recorder when an idea comes into your head – once you have written an idea down you can stop it from distracting you.
- Schedule social media time. I look after the social media for several clients so I schedule in a couple of times a day to catch up, respond and comment – otherwise you know what happens, you start looking at twitter and 2 hours disappear.
- The same with email – I have to admit I still check mine several times a day. But even if you can’t resist reading emails as they come in at least plan to answer them all in one go, it’s much quicker to blitz through them all at once than go backwards and forwards. By the way this works for phone calls too, make them all in one go and you will get through them much quicker.
- Plan outings in one trip – so if you have to go out for appointments especially personal ones like the dentist or hairdresser get them all done in one day. If you have to go into town to the post office build in other errands at the same time rather than going out 2 or 3 times over several days.
- Organise your day to suit your natural energy peaks. If you are a morning person do things that need focus first thing. I do my writing between 7 and 9am after the family has left and the house is quiet, my mind is fresh and then I take a short break for breakfast, when I catch up with the news and reading my RSS feeds.
- If you have a job that needs to get finished and you are procrastinating, set yourself a deadline. Promise it for a day and time – even set a timer, it’s amazing how much having a deadline focuses the mind.
I hope these tips have helped you – if you have any that have really worked for you please leave them in the comments. If you liked this article please share using the buttons below.