I remember when I was dying to work from home. When I still had my full-time corporate job, I regularly said to myself that I would do anything and everything to be able to work from my couch, in my PJs, with Gilmore Girls playing in the background. (Insert PRAISE HANDS right here!!)
My first couple of months working from home were all hustling. It was intense and exciting and honestly, I LOVED it. It made me feel like I was making progress, but those moments of pleasure only lasted a short period of time.
I now find myself constantly fighting my mentality (and sometimes guilt) that I am not accomplishing “enough” – which is quite ridiculous because I am already doing A LOT.
I can’t remember exactly when (probably around the time when God asked me to let go of my fear of saying no, you can read that blog post here), but I eventually started to realize that this mentality is not healthy, and so I put together a list of things that I would change to make my work life a little more sustainable and balanced. I’ve been implementing these over the last couple of months and it’s been super helpful. I hope this list sparks some ideas for you as well.
I used to spend hours and hours working my way through my to-do list, finally looking at the clock at 3 pm and realizing that I hadn’t had lunch yet. For the last few weeks, I have set very strict rules for myself in order to take care of my body mentally, physically, and emotionally. One of these rules is to always stop work to take lunch.
Ever since I started taking my minimum 30 minute lunch breaks, I’ve noticed that my mood and productivity have improved significantly. I feel like I can actually breathe now and be less overwhelmed with my list of things to do.
I am definitely not doing this perfectly as I still do a little work on Saturday mornings if I don’t have any plans with friends and family. But what I do differently is use this time for my own business only! This means no client work on weekends. For example, on Saturday mornings, I usually write a couple of blog posts or update my website. This has helped me be more creative and motivated with these specific tasks. I am more likely to just write what I want to write about without having any unrealistic expectations. It’s fun!
My accountability partner is my husband, Mitch. Mitch works from home a couple of days a week and when we are both at home, we always remind each other to take breaks and often eat lunch together.
Working from home and being a business owner can be lonely sometimes. It can mean being the boss as well as the copywriter, social media manager, accountant, and so much more. There are so many responsibilities and different roles to play. It is hard! Finding an accountability partner is so beneficial and I am so fortunate that mine is my hubby! Trust me, you won’t regret this step!
As a result of letting go of some of my clients, I’ve gained more time. While everyone chooses to use their time differently, I personally want to utilize this extra time to serve my clients better in a way that I was never able to do when my hands were full. Now I am able to dedicate my full attention to each client and project, allowing me to truly go above and beyond to serve them well. Not only do I want to help them and their business succeed, but I also want to build a personal relationship with them to encourage them and care for them.
I understand that for some of you this is not realistic because your clients are busy and everyone has different schedules. Honestly, I have a hard time sticking to this, but that’s okay. For my business, I use a scheduler in Dubsado that allows my clients to book a time to chat with me. I make Wednesday my main “call days”. Giving out just a few open options has helped me better perceive what each day/week is going to look like and has allowed for opportunities for me to keep working on something if I have some good, creative momentum going.
Have you ever felt the need to prove your efficiency even when your turn-around time is not so realistic? Maybe you want to impress your clients by telling them that you can finish a big project from scratch in two weeks even though you already have a lot on your plate. I’ve been there. Done that. And it didn’t work for me, both mentally and physically.
Projects and revisions take time. Instead of trying to impress your clients by burning yourself out, which will lead to poor work and client experience, set realistic timelines and express all of your boundaries and expectations from the start. Trust me, people are way more understanding and gracious than you think. Don’t be afraid to set longer project timelines.
This goes hand in hand with #5. Having a pretty solid idea of what your work day is going to look like helps youto perform efficiently and effectively. Here’s what each day looks like for me:
Monday — Emails, invoicing, scheduling blog posts
Tuesday — Meetings and calls in the morning, content writing in the afternoon
Wednesday — Graphics and design work
Thursday — Catch-up. This means any emails, revision, and small tasks, that I haven’t been able to get to yet. I’ve heard that many people use Friday as their catch-up day instead. I tried this, but didn’t quite like it because I often found myself a little bit more creative and motivated then (maybe because it’s Friday!), so it seemed wise to use that day for content-related work.
Friday — Content writing! Also a shorter day for me. FRIYAY!
Of course, things happen and we won’t always be able to follow our plan exactly, but having at least a basic structure in place helps us look at things differently and be less stressed out.
So, there you have it! I hope these tips and reminders are helpful. Let me know in the comments below if you try out any of these. I’d love to follow along and cheer for you! Talk soon, friend!