Working from home, It’s the dream, right? Waking up whenever you want and heading downstairs for a cup of coffee in your dressing gown while you check your emails. The dog’s head rested on your lap for a good ear scratch.
Whilst these days do happen, they aren’t necessarily the norm for everyone. It all depends on the rigidity of your daily routine and the needs of your business.
Often, my own morning routine consists of my alarm going off at 5:00am and working through my emails before the recipient gets to their desks at 09:00, or I spend some time dealing with international enquiries. Usually, everything on my to-do list is up to date by 2pm and that’s where my working day ends (which feels AMAZING!)
This might seem glaringly obvious, but it’s key to have a daily schedule to stay on top of tasks and if your business is going to pay the bills then this takes priority.
To find the best balance for you and your business, ask yourself the following questions:
When am I most efficient?
I get a real boost from everything I’ve achieved by breakfast time and knowing that for the first half of my day I can get ahead without interruptions.
The idea of waking up this early might make you feel physically ill, and it’s not something you have to do by any means! It is, however, essential to identify the key times for you to work most efficiently.
If you’re more of a night owl then perhaps you’re most productive in the evening or late afternoon. Begin with your “office hours” tasks (getting that package to the post office, making that phone call) and then come back to anything that has been more challenging when people begin to close up shop at the end of the day.
Where you find yourself regularly responding to email outside of conventional office hours, consider drafting your responses and pressing the send button between 9 – 5. There are tools in outlook to do this for you!
Keep the tasks that require a high level of concentration for these periods and you’ll soar through them in no time.
What are my business’ peak hours?
My day to day work involves a lot of reading, prepping and figures, which is fantastic to get on with whilst the world is sleeping. If you make a lot of calls and rely on prompt answers, then this is not going to be a productive time for you. Either way, you should plan at least some overlap with the rest of the general population.
So, if your web store takes off between 12:00 and 14:00 when people shop on their lunch break, or you have a large social media following that you interact with in the evenings, then your day is going to look very different to mine.
Working from home, Things to consider:
- When your customers or clients are going to want to contact you,
- When web traffic spikes,
- Google analytics for your business page,
- Regular deadlines,
What needs to happen at home?
It goes hand in hand that if you’re working from home, then you’re probably also spending some time cleaning each morning before you start work at your kitchen table, going to the shops, or perhaps you have to head out on the school run twice a day.
For those of us lucky enough to work from home, this transition between the working day and home life can provide helpful opportunities for breaks throughout the day, but the tasks can also be pretty distracting!
Once you’ve identified the spikes in your working day, you should next work on the times that are the most efficient for your home life. If you’re finding frequent clashes that are going to affect your productivity, then it might be time to invest in some help. Consider automation software, hiring an assistant or a housekeeper that can support you with other things during these times and free up your valuable working hours!
You might also find it helpful to ask your Smart Assistant for reminders to keep you on track.
When did I last have a break?
Rest times are essential, and you should never underestimate the importance of scheduling breaks! Make sure that you can change tasks regularly, take a walk outside, spend some time away from a screen and eat proper meals. Self-care is crucial, even more so when you’re working for yourself as there aren’t provisions for sick pay if you overdo it.
Finally, always start and end with a realistic view of your workload.
No, it might not be finished, but how long have you been sat at your desk? If you’re finding yourself unfinished time and time again then it could be time to get some support and scale your business. Stretching out your working day to try and fit everything in, isn’t a healthy way of working in the long term.
Working for yourself can be addictive, and it’s easy to see why! Every penny you earn goes to you and your business, but you need to know where to stop. Set yourself a fixed working day (even if it’s an unconventional one) of no more than 7-8 hours. Managing your time is key in knowing where to begin the next day.