THE DREAM: WORKING FROM HOME OR FOR YOURSELF. NO BOSS. DOING (HOPEFULLY) WHAT YOU LOVE. NO MORE 9-5.
Your dream of self-employment usually goes one of two ways:
You either go into hyper focus mode – maybe even foregoing sleep, food and relationships to dive into your business at 200% power. You become an engine with no ‘off’ button. You get things done. Congratulations!
Or, you might be like many entrepreneurs who call me for help because they just can’t focus on their work. You drift from one project to another, never quite finishing anything. Like a ship with no anchor, you end up following the current of what’s easy or fun to do.
Hard work? Um, that can wait. I’m the boss! Without a boss, who’s keeping an eye on your progress? You get lured by social media posts, emails and other distractions. “I’ll go toss in a load of laundry,” and then tidy up the kitchen, water the plants, walk the dogs... Before you know it, an hour has passed. No business work got done. Does this sound like you?
Five things you need to avoid the pitfall
1. Create "anchors" in your weekly schedule
Just as ships need anchors to keep them in place and avoid drifting off, entrepreneur-ships like yours need recurring meetings to keep them from veering off task. The more appointments you book, whether off-site or as a phone call, the more likely you will stay on task.
These “anchors” encourage you get up and work (and get out of your pyjamas). When I have my first meeting with potential clients, I ask them about their overall productivity: “In a week where you are not very busy and only have one or two scheduled appointments, are you more likely to get a lot done or are you more likely to waste a lot of time being unproductive?.” More than 75% admit to floundering. When I then ask them: “In a week where you are super busy with back to back meetings or appointments, how do you feel?”. I always get a similar type of answer: “I feel super energized!”; “I get things done!”; “My brain lights up/comes to life!”. Being busy rewards your brain. So you have to follow the old adage of “Fake it ‘til you make it,” even when it comes to tricking your brain into thinking it’s busy.
2. Become a creature of habit
Get up at the same time everyday. The more things you can do on auto-pilot, the less stressful your day will be. Fewer things to remember to do (like setting the alarm for a different wake up time everyday). Just look at ship captains. They often plan their port arrivals & departures based on the high or low tide schedules or on certain days of the week. Team communication also becomes easier; everyone knows what to expect.
3. Get a "lighthouse" by hiring a coach
If your entrepreneur-ship is sailing through fog, rocky waters or fighting headwinds without a compass, you will not make it to your desired destination as planned. A business coach can be your “lighthouse” guiding you safely to your goals.
4. Get an accountability partner
Meet on a regular pre-determined basis. Warning!: Set a limit on the amount of time you will talk (15 minutes is more than enough). Pick a partner who is a positive person. Check in once at the start of your work day. Face-to-face video exchanges will encourage you to dress for work. State your top 3 goals for the day. The next day, you can re-cap the previous day’s results. Did you get it done? If not, what happened that got you off track? Make sure to celebrate your successes!
5. Get some help and invest in professional services
Big ships sometimes need help manoeuvring their way into a harbour so they hire a tugboat to nudge them in the right direction. DIY PR Queen, Geeta Nadkarni from Baby Got Booked, did just that. She grew her empire to a six figure income in less than 18 months by hiring a virtual assistant to become her tugboat. Her assistant would assign her only one thing to do each day and that was all she was allowed to focus on. Even thought she couldn’t afford it at the time, she realized that’s what she needed to keep her “chaos brain” (her words, not mine!) on task. You can read her article about it here.
So stop doing your own bookkeeping if you hate it! Hire a bookkeeper so you won’t procrastinate any more on this issue. If you’re wasting time looking for things in your office, call a professional organizer to help you. Do what you are good at delegate the rest.
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