Whenever I tell someone that I work from home, their first reaction is usually “oohh I could never do that! How do you motivate yourself? How do you stay disciplined?”.
It’s true, it’s not easy when you don’t have a boss to keep you accountable, or a corporate structure to give you direction. But as time goes on, you do start to develop routines and strategies for getting things done.
Having said that, sometimes as entrepreneurs we can get a little complacent, let our routines slip and, before we know it, our days are just not as productive as they need to be in order for our business to grow and develop.
We work virtually so that we can enjoy the flexibility that office-bound employees do not. However, once you’re on that slippery slope, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut, lose interest and become demotivated, making it all the harder to get back on track.
When this happens, sometimes the best thing to do is take a break. Last week I was able to practice what I preach and take a trip to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games. I had a fantastic time relished the chance to re-charge my batteries (in the comfort of knowing that work was still being done by my virtual team!).
While I was away, I got to thinking about the best way to start my day so that I could become more productive than I was before my much-needed break. It occurred to me that there are several things that I could do differently to get myself moving faster in the morning, leading to a more productive work day.
So here’s my list of ‘must-do’s’ to get your day off to the right start:
1. Get enough sleep – An obvious one to start! As we all know, six to eight hours of sleep per night will definitely help you to feel more invigorated and ready for the day.
2. Preparation – Take a little time to prepare a list of things to do for the following day so that you can wake up with purpose, knowing exactly what you want to achieve. This will motivate you to get started rather than procrastinate.
3. Eat breakfast – Good nutrition is extremely important for concentration – after all, none of us can run on empty and expect to do our best work. You should also make sure you eat breakfast within 30mins of getting up, so that your blood sugar levels don’t crash.
4. Exercise – A little light exercise to start your day increases brain function, and decreases stress levels. Perhaps a short run, or maybe a yoga session?
5. Tackle the tough stuff first – Most people are far more productive in the mornings (especially if they have had the aforementioned sleep!) so perform the most difficult tasks first, when your concentration is at its best.
6. Schedule your day – When you have your action plan set out, sit down and decide what time you will work on each task and how long you will spend on it. If they are tasks you complete every day or every week, you could even set them as a recurring event in your calendar.
Once you have taken some time to implement these steps into your working day, you will be amazed at the difference in your productivity. Why not try it for a week and let me know how you get on!