When I first started coaching in 2001, I had professional female clients who wanted to create at-home businesses so they could raise a family. Working remotely is much more common today than it was back then, and much easier. Thanks to laptops, mobile phones, Wi-Fi, cafes and co-working spaces, anyone can start a portable business.
What has not changed, however, is the issue of time management and the self-discipline required to remain productive and profitable. Arguably, technology today offers even more tempting distractions with Facebook, Twitter, and impromptu conversations at Starbucks. If you are prone to follow the next shiny distraction, it becomes necessary to create a system to keep you on track for a successful business.
Working for yourself can be liberating. It offers the appeal of having complete control of one's time, versus working in an office where the clock-punching imposes productivity time parameters. Force-fed work hours rarely align with my body’s creativity cycles.
The glamorized aspects of self-employment have a shadow side, too. You must be productive to earn an income, and the failure to implement systems can cause needless anxiety and suffering. Success depends on knowing your limits and listening to the rhythms of your body and mind.
Personally, I have found the research to be true: A good morning routine sets the foundation for the day. When I plan my week (either the prior Friday afternoon or Sunday evening), exercise and well-being get scheduled first. I try to schedule walks for meetings on the phone or in person, and to have some physical activity every day. Some of my clients find exercising first thing in the morning sets their day on track, but others prefer to exercise mid-day or late afternoon. I have found that smaller segments of activity throughout the day work well when I have some intense writing or analytical projects to complete.
One critical aspect of starting my day is journaling. I have found the 5-minute journal idea the easiest way to stay consistent. It includes listing things for which I am grateful, 3 action items for the day, and a daily affirmation. In the evening, there is a day’s assessment, incorporating more gratitude.
Understanding the rhythms of my productivity means I schedule items requiring more mental focus first thing in the morning, with more planning, creativity, and administrative tasks in the afternoon. When working with clients, I have them engage in trial-and-error in two-week blocks to get a feel for what works best for them. Your schedule, like your physical needs and desires, may change over time. Personalizing your routine to what works for you allows you to move with the flow of your life rather than trying to conform to what society says works best. Only you can know what works for you, and this knowledge comes from action.
I help A-types B(e) more. A congruent life feels vibrant and full of infinite possibilities where your body, mind, and spirit feel in sync. Like a personal trainer for the physical body, I help individuals train the mind toward positive focus and deliberate creation. Please contact me for more information.