Setting boundaries, getting organized + feeling productive while working from home

Let’s face it- “working from home” is not always as glamorous as it sounds. Often times you are working MORE than you would if you were clocking in at a 9-5. When you don’t have a boss micro-managing your every move or a physical place to report to, the hours in the day can crawl by or be gone before you know it if you don’t have a schedule. Here are some of my recent musings about maintaining boundaries, getting organized and feeling productive while working from home. FYI, I think these strategies are valuable even if you don’t work from home!

Boundaries

 

Working for yourself is great. It’s also hard to unplug and stop because everything you do bleeds into your personal life and vice versa. I’ve brought my kids to Essential Oil consultations and even to make-up sessions with clients from my Diabetes Prevention class. Setting boundaries is so important. But more important than setting them is LETTING OTHERS KNOW! And sticking with your commitment to honor them. The biggest culprit I’ve seen with entrepreneurs and people who work from home is unplugging from technology. It’s easy to have your phone and computer on at all times especially if your home is also your office. I think setting boundaries around technology is a key component. You need to set the expectation for your clients and co-workers that there are certain times that you are available and other times that you are not. If you want a “no phone zone” in common areas of your home then you must respect that rule and don’t answer a text /email in common areas of your house!
Ideas for setting boundaries:
  1. Create “no phone zones” in your home. Leave computers, i-pads and phones in an office or dedicated space. If members of the family need to use a device they need to go to a separate area. These zones create real boundaries for living a distracted free home life so you can focus on real life. Talk to members of the family. Disconnect from your work life or your social media feeds and be present. There is absolutely no reason to be connected 24 hours a day. No way jose.
  2. No technology in the bedroom. Sleep is so key for busy people who are working for themselves. Keep the technology out of the bedroom so you can decompress and relax before bed. Research shows that falling asleep to a screen can disrupt a good nights rest. Your brain is overstimulated when exposed to a screen. Instead put some essential oils in your diffuser and give yourself 5-10minutes of quiet time to visualize your day or say gratitude for the things that went well in your day today.
  3. Set days for set activities: I recently started doing this and it has helped me tremendously. I have three different “gigs” going on- I coach clients in my DPP class, I write for this blog, I am a marketing strategist for Seventy1 and I run my own essential oils business. I need to set boundaries for my own sanity. I set specific days to work on each project to help compartmentalize the work I do. Mondays are for essential oils business, Tuesdays/Thursdays are for my consulting work with seventy1, Wednesdays are planning days for DPP and Fridays are for anything that comes up. If you work one on one with clients maybe you could set a day for your calls / meetings.

Facing a “funk” and getting over the hump

 

It’s hard to be in a constant state of inspired go-getter!! I know because I am an ENFP and my ideas come at all hours of the day and in unexpected spurts. I can’t possibly run with all of them and my creativity strikes at very un-opportune times… Like today when I was driving a car full of kids to the playground, trying to reach someone’s snack off the ground while also explaining why the sky is white and not blue today… I had an awesome idea for a blog post. But when I sat down later to write it was GONE!

It’s tough to get out of a creative funk / or a lull in the middle of the day or to muster up the energy to make another business call or write another blog post. But I do find that its not the FUNK that I need to worry about (those will be there no matter what) but its the HOW I get over the hump that really counts. It’s the action of changing my perspective /mindset and finding a way to get inspired that really matters. I worked with a coaching client last year who always hit a wall around 1:30 working from home. She had plenty of stuff she could do but felt so bored and un-energized that she couldn’t get in a mindset to work.

Here are some ideas to work through a funk:

  1. Create a fun routine to invite inspiration in… Grab Tangerine, Lemon, Purification or Abundance and put a few drops in your diffuser. Do 3 rounds of Alternate Nostril Breathing to clear space in your mind and reset your attitude.
  2. Read something inspiring. There are great articles over at Tiny Buddah 
  3. Listen to a podcast! Go for a walk and listen to a podcast. My favorites are Being Boss for solo-entrepreneurs or The Lively Show for general life stuff. What else? What do you all listen to??

Priorities + Schedules

 

Working for yourself means you get to make your own schedule… but what happens if you don’t? Or what happens when people don’t respect the schedule you set up for yourself… you know that colleague/client who cancels a meeting last minute and asks if you can do a call in a few hours… or your sitter comes and you have 5 hours of precious time but you spend half the time organizing yourself to get ready to go to work! Or you have so many ideas when you have no time but when you actually sit to do your “work” you are bone dry and inspiration has left the building.

It’s all about prioritizing your goals based on your VALUES. Take a minute to decide what you really want to be doing with your time. Write it out. Create the larger vision for what you are trying to accomplish. Then break it down into actionable steps. Then place those steps into an order that resembles a schedule. Then stick to it! Don’t let people take advantage of your time! Don’t allow yourself to be distracted when you are supposed to be doing class/client planning!

Here is a quick exercise that I have used with my own clients in my lifestyle coaching sessions:
  1. Make a list of all the things you do / want to do /have to do in a given week. Example: yoga class, take the car in for an oil change, grocery shop, plan for a client session, read a chapter from a personal development book, go for a run, watch Dancing with the Stars, etc.
  2. Prioritize those items, start with the non-negotiables and list them from most important to not important. The items at the bottom of the list are the ones that can be forgone if the week gets crazy.
  3. Schedule them. So get out a calendar / planner and put each item in a slot.
  4. Leave time for nothing! Leave time for unexpected disruptions.

Productivity

 

Setting up a vision ahead of time is key. Knowing what would make you happy and feel successful at the end of the day is the key. That takes a minute to set up, meaning you have to do some reflection to identify what “success” looks like for you. Is it to bill 6 hours for your client? Is it to write a killer blog post? Is it to have earned $100? Is it to have dinner on the table? Is it to have taken a shower? Once you have identified what productive looks like for you then you can plan backwards to make sure you are doing the activities to get you there.
Here are some ideas for productivity:
  1. Set a timer and do a free write. I do this everyday. I am doing it right now, writing this post. Set your timer and make yourself sit and write. If nothing comes out then hey, you sat for 30 minutes without checking email / social media!
  2. Goals are big. So chunk it down!! Write your big goals out then decide how you will tackle them on a daily basis with this exercise: Break up the year into manageable chunks… start by dividing the year into Quarters. Create a goal for each quarter. Then assign a smaller goal that will get you to the larger quarter goal for each of the 3 months. Then make a weekly plan to achieve the monthly goal… you see where this is going…. then break out daily action steps to achieve the weekly goal. When the year is up you will have met your big goals!! Remember daily process is what gets results.
  3. Ask yourself what productive looks like for you… if you are kicking business ass but your house looks like a volcano erupted and you are surviving on saltine crackers then something is off-balance. Productivity in business is awesome… but productivity in life overall is better. Find your balance.

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