Working from home has many advantages. It is empowering to live – and work – on your own terms. I can live where I want to live, work when I want to work, and work with people that I love. I can start and stop my day when I want to. I have the flexibility to chaperone my child’s field trip or schedule a facial at 2:30pm on a Tuesday without having to answer to anybody.
Many of our clients have asked me and members of our team, “How do we work from home successfully?” This is a key question. Having worked from home for more than a decade, I know firsthand that it is very easy to get distracted or derailed. So this is what I tell others who want to know what the “secret” is to having a successful work-from-anywhere career.
There are three things you MUST DO to work from home successfully:
Prioritize. Organize. Energize.
Don’t look at working on your business as spending time on it, instead look at it as an investment. When you view your business in this light, your business will automatically take on a higher priority. Here are more tips on prioritizing your business and your work:
- Make time to work IN and ON your business. These are two separate items.
- There are three entities of your business that need to be in motion all the time:
- Marketing: this is building new relationships (not buying ads).
- Operations: the act of doing the work.
- Admin: this unsexy part of your business is crucial. Bill collection, contracts, and bookkeeping all need to be consistently attended to (Fast fact: the #1 reason that many businesses fail is lack of collections).
- Make space for your priorities:
- Cut / Edit: figure out what you are great at and find others to help you do the rest.
- Track Your Time: I use QuickBooks to keep track of my time on each work project that I do. Try it for a week, it can be really eye opening to see how you really spend your time.
- Create Your Dream Time: Tony Gaskins said it best, “Evaluate the people in your life; then promote, demote or terminate. You’re the CEO of your life.”
- Delegate: Figure out what you can do – or want to do – and don’t be afraid to say, “That does not work for me” to work projects, clients, or requests from family and friends.
Need help figuring out how to prioritize? Ask yourself:
- Who you are? (The answer is as simple as your company name.)
- What do you do? (What product / service do you offer?)
- Whom do you serve? (For example, WWW is for women who have or want to have their own business.)
Answering these questions will help you prioritize your business needs, wishes, and wants.
When I speak about organizing, I am not talking about your desk (although having a tidy work space does seem to be conducive to better, more efficient work – see next paragraph). The first and foremost item to organize is your time. You have got to “calendar it”. I cannot stress how important this is. Calendar everything – your work obligations, your workout time, your carpool time, and (this is crucial!) give yourself room to breathe. Add in time for driving or socializing at your child’s school pickup. Block out time for “just in case” moments – maybe a project needs some extra love or maybe your best friend wants to meet for an impromptu heart-to-heart.
As you organize your time – the organization of your life will fall into place. And if it doesn’t, then make some time to organize your cupboard, refrigerator, closet, and work space. Cluttered pantries or closets full of clothes you wore in yesteryear can have a cluttering effect on your brain – leaving you feeling more scattered and less focused for what your priorities are.
Create more energy in your life. Sitting at a computer all day – or even for a few hours – can be draining, even when you are doing work that you love. For me, personally, the right scents energize me. The smell of coffee brewing in the morning gets me going. I also have invested in a diffuser and quality essential oils to keep the energy flowing. There are scents that can help relieve stress, or curb your appetite, or help to ward off headaches. Other ways to energize, or re-energize, during the day (that me or my WWW team members actually do):
- Standing. Try out a standing desk or standing while on a client call. You may be surprised to see how your energy changes, for the better.
- Taking the dog out for a walk. Pets bring energy into many lives. Use your dog to get a burst of energy when you are feeling tired.
- Acupuncture. An acupuncture session is all about relaxing (I’ve been known to snooze off) but surprisingly it re-calibrates your energy and can help you stay productive.
- Move your body. Get up and dance when your favorite song comes on or do a few sun salutations.
Here is my bonus tip: Never Compromise.
It is important to make your business a priority and to respect yourself in the process. If you respect yourself, you set a tone where you will get that same respect back from others. In a nutshell, strive to be happy, be healthy, find balance, and take care of yourself emotionally, physically, and financially. Your work-from-home business gives you the freedom to do all of the above, so do it and be the success you were meant to be!