I’ll be completely honest with you here and say I’m writing this post as much for me as i am for anyone else who may like to read it.
I love working for myself but i have to admit there are many occasions where i miss working with others. I miss social interaction, deciding who’s going to make the next round of coffees, having a bit of banter and a laugh about whatever has happened that day. Seeing others work often inspires me too, so when I’m on my own I can often go down hill in regards to inspiration and mood.
I don’t think i realised how much of a people person I actually am until i started working for myself.
(I’m making it sound like i don’t enjoy it, i do i assure you, maybe i should write another post about that.. Hmmm).
But having been self employed in my solo office for one for 18 months now, i’ve found a few things that have helped me get the creative juices flowing, the work done and put me in a happier place.
1.Take a walk
This is how i start my day and its why its at the top of my list. Nothing sets me up better for my day than a lovely brisk walk with Cassy the dog. Its how i mentally clear the fog from sorting everyone out and getting them where they need to be in the morning. It also allows me to think about what i’ve got on that day and what i want to do about it. The brisk fresh air blows away those cobwebs and is a lovely fresh start to the day. Granted i don’t do this in the rain, but any time its dry i go for that walk and endorphin’s are released, putting me in a great mood to start my day.
2. Get up, dress up, make that effort.
Its so easy to just sit in your pj’s or chuck on some joggers and call it a comfy outfit. But really, would you go to work like that? No.. no you wouldn’t. Dressing for your job is all part an parcel of what you do and how you do it. It is such an easy to step in to tricking your mind out of the comfy, sit on the sofa mindset and in to a pro-active get work done mood.
I always feel so much better when i’ve made an effort, even if no one will see me all day, i feel good about me, and when you feel good you are much, much more productive.
|Just my average outfit for a day at my desk.. yup i wear a dress even when nobody will see me (apart from instagram;)|
3. Plan Your Day: Make a List
Ohhh the internet really is a dangerous place for procrastinators. I can start by simply looking for that new dress and before i know it 2 hours have passed and i’ve found varies beautiful dresses but not done a scrap of work.
The best way to combat this is by making a list of things you want to do. When i was particualy bad and whiling away hours on youtube (and calling it ‘research’) and not really being very productive i found listing things in time slots the best way to keep me on track. The time slots keeps you accountable. You know approximately how long a blog post takes to write, or how long those photos will take to edit so list it with the times:
9.30-11.00 Edit photos
11.00-12.00 Write blog post
And so on. I found this extremely helpful in getting my things done. If it ran over, it didn’t matter so much as you are your own boss after all, you can adjust as needs be, but the accountability to timings is a great way to get you in to good practice.
4. Create a Tidy work space for yourself.
This for me is so important and something i learned after months and months of working on the sofa, at a messy dining table and then eventually a desk. Having an area that is just for work really helps to promote good work ethics from home. Nest.co.uk have the best set ups and also fab stationery, did you know its National Stationery week, which basically means go out and buy yourself a fabulous notepad. I am a total notepad lover. I have multiple and they are all for different things (shopping list, work to do lists, personal to do lists, writing ideas, the lists and indeed notepads go on ) Having lovely note pads and pens that are just mine (and not for my 6 year old sons grubby hands) helps me feel well equipped for my day. My work journal is kept on my clear clutter free desk and my brain is instantly clear and ready to create content when i sit here. I also don’t sit here after work hours (I usually finish at 4 when i get my kids from the bus after school), this space is solely for my work and when i sit here i know i am here to do just that. It helps to compartmentalise my small home this way.
5. Change location
This is something i want to try (and i will report back) but sometimes its great to take your set up if you can (i.e notepad pen and laptop) to a cafe; starbucks and costa and many other cafes have wifi, enabling online work to be done away from your office. For me i like the idea of being surrounded by strangers, not needing to talk, busying myself in my own little corner.
Changing your location can be refreshing.
6. Put your phone in a different area
My big downfall is my phone.. i can pick it up and check it with OCD like tendencies. Plus my sister and i can chat on WhatsApp all day, so there’s always a new reply to write.
Its so easy to be distracted by social media on our phones too, with twitter pings, Instagram updates and then their is messages from everyone we know too.
If you have something you need to concentrate on put your phone out of reach or in another room if you can( i like to keep mine in hearing distance just incase the school calls regarding my kids). For me not having it next to me on my desk and leaving it across the room is enough for me to ignore it for a while. I find once i’ve taorn the device from my clamy palms my mind clears and the work flows.
7. Make a lunch break for yourself
With your time schedule in point 3. be sure to make time for lunch. Step away from the laptop/work-space and go eat lunch elsewhere. It may be a quick trip to a cafe for an hour, of it may be sitting in your dining room with something yummy you’ve whipped up.
Its so important to give your mind the rest from your work, even if its just a short break. You will want to get back to your desk instead growing with resentment that all you’ve done is sit there all day.
8. Talk or arrange meet ups, don’t be alone all week.
Something i found out the hard way. Working for yourself, by yourself can be lonely. Before you know it the week has passed and you’ve seen not another person all week. Granted I have my husband and kids, but sometimes of an evening everyone is doing their own thing and thus the humdrum continues. I remember the January after i finished work i became a recluse and didn’t go out, feeling that this is my job and therefore must do it constantly if i were to make it work. In reality it actually just made me a bit depressed and resent sitting here all day.
Now i split my week up and make arrangements with family and friends each week. Today i took my lunch break in a coffee shop with my friend Karen. An hour of chatting was blissful. I give myself time on a Wednesday to get my things done and see family too.
With plans made to see real people i know i won’t feel low and resent my laptop and actually want to get back to it with renewed vigour.
9. Create rewards
Ooo my favourite. So you’ve worked hard all week, you’ve managed to bang out all your pieces in time and now you have all your ducks in a row. Life is sweet. Be proud of yourself and reward yourself. Whether that be getting your nails done, having a glass of wine of an evening or sitting down with a lovely takeaway. Regular treats boosts our minds in to positive reformation.
Do you do any of these or have any great motivational tips? I would love to hear!