4 Essentials for Succeeding When You Make the Switch to Working From Home
When you show up to a job, you know what's expected and when you're done. You still need to know that when you work for yourself.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You've seen the ads on social media. The photos and videos of the "laptop lifestyle." You've seen posts from fellow entrepreneurs showing their cars, houses and fancy offices. You're excited to finally quit your day job and work from the comfort of your home. The thought of taking control of your time, and how you spend your days, is a dream come true. You say goodbye to your coworkers on your last day of "work" and wake up the next day free. You start fresh knowing that your office is 10 feet from your bed.
While it may feel like you're about to enter the most productive period in your life, there's something you need to consider. Working from home allows you control, but with that control means your results are tied to your work ethic. You have been used to having someone tell you how to spend your "working" hours. When you punched the clock, you had clear expectations for what you would accomplish during that day. When you work from home, no one is telling you what to do. That means you are responsible for your time -- for maybe the first time in your life.
If you are going to be productive and get the tasks done that build your business, there are four tips that can help. You have a tremendous opportunity if you understand how to maximize it. This can be the most productive period of your life, in which you grow the business you've been dreaming about, if you build it the right way.
1. Have a plan for your days and tasks.
It's amazing and kind of scary how many new entrepreneurs try to "wing it." There is no plan for how you'll use your time and for what tasks you need to accomplish. You need a real plan, and you should be consistently updating it. Sit down and map out your year, then break down tasks throughout your months and weeks. Break it down further by planning out your days the night before.
A plan and a list of tasks helps you accomplish your major goals. The good thing is we live in a time with many tools and software. You can download an app or use software for your desktop or laptop. Take advantage of the tools and use them to get organized. Organization is crucial to your productivity as an entrepreneur.
2. Work interrupted for blocks of time.
It's easy to get distracted when you're at home. Netflix is calling to you. Social media is asking for your time. Emails, unexpected errands and a hundred other distractions can suck you into a black hole of unproductively. Remember, no one is telling you what to do with that time. There is power in working in blocks. You set a specific period of time to work. Make it realistic. You work for an hour and then take a 15-minute break or whatever sequence works for you. Work hard during that block and reward yourself with a break. Don't try to be a super entrepreneur -- take your breaks.
3. Cut yourself some slack.
There will be days when you're on fire and days when you don't get much done. If you have put a plan in place and have figured out your blocks, cut yourself some slack when you have an off day. Entrepreneurship is about freedom. It's about being in control of your time. You can hit your groove and develop systems to help you accomplish all your goals. Cut yourself slack when you want to take an off day. Take off days. Create a plan that gives you flexibility.
4. Stay accountable.
One of the best ways to stay productive is to have accountability built into your business. Today's technology and access make that easier. You can join mastermind groups, hire an accountability partner, and team up with entrepreneurial friends. You meet and set plans about what each entrepreneur will accomplish over a specific period of time. Accountability can be a major strategy to help your business grow.
Successful businesses are built when you spend day in and day out putting in the work. It will take a lot of productive days to accomplish your major goals. Working from home is a gift and an opportunity. Make it count by having a plan and using your time wisely.