Working from home comes with great rewards: flexible hours, zero commute, and complete freedom over our own schedule.
But, the work-at-home arrangement also comes with a few challenges: inability to leave work behind at the end of the day, temptation to do housework during business hours, and a constant struggle to achieve work/life balance.
In my twenty-five-plus years of experience as a solopreneur, I’ve learned it’s far too easy to let work consume life or life consume work. Especially when you work from home. There are just so many distractions!
If you find yourself flailing between tasks, and failing to strike anything close to balance in your life, the following productivity tips for solopreneurs should help you get more out of your day.
Productivity Tips for Solopreneurs
- Set business hours and stick to them. One of my top productivity tips for anyone working from home? Set business hours. Will you work Monday to Friday, 8-4? Tuesday to Saturday, 9-1? Mornings on Mondays and evenings on Thursdays? Whatever you decide, STICK TO IT! That means, no answering email after hours. No taking calls on your days off (or after hours)! No doing laundry on a work morning. (See? It goes both ways.) That brings us to my next tip…
- Don’t combine personal chores and business chores. You must try to stay firm in your resolve to keep house chores and work chores separate. If you were working in an office, you wouldn’t take ten minutes to put in a load of laundry, would you? If you want to be productive, stay focused on work when you’re at work. Chores can happen later, or at a time when you’ve got them scheduled.
- Create a schedule. You may find it helpful to schedule your day, just as you might do in a traditional office setting, with scheduled breaks, appointments, etc. I try to create a schedule for work each week, so I know what and who I’m focusing on, and when. In between the work tasks, I schedule my days for personal errands, house cleaning, family events, etc. By scheduling your time like this, you can easily slot in a day or half day for personal chores, so they don’t interfere with your work flow. I also schedule in time to do laundry and other family things to create my balance. The thing is, I schedule it … and it works for me.
- Keep your office tidy. Whatever space in your home you use for work, try your very best to keep it neat and tidy. Filing should be kept up as much as possible, your desk should be clean enough for you to find things when you need them, and you shouldn’t have piles of laundry at your feet. You want to have your work space as free from clutter as possible, so you can focus. How can you possibly be productive if you have to spend half your time searching for things you need?
The main thing to consider is your productivity is based on YOUR needs, not anyone else’s. I can give you tips and a glimpse at what works for me, but it’s still up to you. I started out in 1991 with very strict office hours, and strict boundaries between my personal life and my business life. Over the years, they have morphed into a productivity schedule that works for me, my business and my family. Remember … it’s your business. It’s your life. Whatever works for you and allows you to remain productive without giving up your life … then go for it!
What about you, fellow solopreneurs? What productivity tips work for you that you can add to this list?
Also published on Medium.