If you work for yourself, from home, alone or all of the above, you, like many of us, probably know the feeling of ‘never enough done’, ‘not enough time in the day’ and never fully switching off. If you want to be dynamic, energised and productive by day and satisfied and relaxed by night… these are career coaching tips that work wonders for us and our career coaching clients.
One of the biggest challenges to those who work for themselves, is a clear beginning to their day or week and a clear ending. We find the following tips to be the most highly effective with ourselves and our self-employed clients.
1. Create a Dynamic Structure
keeping ourselves engaged, keeps us energised and creates a momentum that carries us effortlessly through our day.
Firstly break down your work activities into 3/4 groups – For me it’s Coaching, Blogging, Marketing, Admin/Finance.
Take your key weekly goals and break them down into those activity groups and then each weekly goal into phases, numbering the phases.
Chart out your working week, by organising the phases of your weekly goals across your week, so that you have maximum variety.
Schedule times for each activity.
My tip is to start the day with something quick that you like, that energises you. Then move onto the thing you enjoy the least, and leave activities you find relatively easy for 4pm. End on a high with something you enjoy. I suggest you highlight the one or 2 activities that your business can get the most value from and that you like the least and do those before lunch.
Tip: I always use physical weekly calendars I print out with coloured blocks representing each activity of my work.
Keep your activity blocks short and sweet with clear actions and outcomes (2 hrs max).
2. Time is your friend.
Keep yourself on a tight leash, moving on gracefully but firmly during the day.
Tip: Use your phone alarm before the start of each day, giving you 5 mins before the end of each block and a timer for the real time end. The second timer, means you move on! End of. (The days I do this, leave me so much more satisfied and productive than days I don’t!) If you get a phone call, unexpected scenario pops up, note the time these take and work out what can lose that time from what you have left to complete.
3. Containment & Contrast
Containment is a principle I have been using with great success with my clients for a few years now. The idea of containing the different parts of your life is key to managing yourself and enjoying your life, even more so if you work for yourself or from home. Which leads me on to contrast. Contrast is necessary to essentially enjoy and appreciate everything. If your days roll into one, if your work rolls into your home life, if your work environment is the same as your chilling out environment, everything becomes the same. Containing work allows you to truly focus on your work a fresh when you’re working and truly relax and unwind and enjoy the rest of your life separate to it.
4. Human Contact
is something that is easily and so often underestimated. Emailing and texting, twittering, facebooking, blog commenting & LinkedINinng is not REAL contact. It does not satisfy us and nourish us as human contact does. Aim for human contact at least once a day. Setting up a meeting a day, meeting a friend for lunch, at worst making some phone calls every day should be prioritised – plus it helps with Contrast!. Quality human interaction energises us – all the better if it expands your business and gives you an opportunity to talk about what you’re doing!
Another element to Contact, is getting your business out there. Practise makes perfect. If you’re in the habit of giving people the ‘elevator pitch’ (2 min synopsis of your business) and telling people what you’re doing, you’ll be ready when that big opportunity comes your way! Do it for the sake of it, do it because it’s good practise, it’s good fun to share what you’re doing with people. And if you get results from it, all the better, but just icing!
Start every day with a check-in 5 minute meeting, set yourself up mentally and organisationally for the day. Know with clarity what the aims of your day are. What you would be happy to achieve, what your minimum and ideal results would be in each activity area. Go for it!
Weekly, start the week, by creating the plan, Sunday night is good, you get up ready to run in heels Monday morning. I find I sleep better, knowing everything is down on paper and out of my head. Some people prefer to do it on Friday evenings when everything is fresh. Suit yourself.
Friday Evenings, are for end of week meetings. What did I achieve this week? How does my output compare to my goals. What have I done well? What were my triumphs? What did I enjoy? What would I do differently? This is time for a tap on the back. If you work for yourself, you need to make a point of encouraging yourself, appreciating yourself, as you would an employee, to ensure you’ll turn up for work bright eyed and bushy tailed on Monday morning!
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