I've seen this conversation crop up so much recently that I thought it was time to sit down and really think about how to stay motivated when you run a business from home. One, so that I could actually learn some tips myself, and two, so that I could share my thoughts and findings with you, and hopefully provide some insight.
Make Yourself Accountable
As some of you may already know, last week I created 'accountability meetings' with my best friend from University, Kirandeep Bassan, who also has a small business like me. I kept seeing accountability phone calls and Skype chats being advertised by professionals on instagram, and I thought to myself, whilst money is tight, why don't I try and create this for myself, for free, whilst also mutually benefitting another? I pitched the idea to Kiran, and of course she was up for it. Who wouldn't want to schedule in time to chat with their bestie? Right?
So, at 11am on Tuesday, we had our accountability call, and I cannot tell you how much it transformed my week ahead. During the call, Kiran and I spoke in depth about each of our goals that we wanted to achieve as well as our smaller day to day tasks. By scheduling time to sit down with a fellow creative and actually forming a plan of action really helped to spark a sense of passion and drive within both of us that we had been lacking for some time. By the end of the call we each had our separate tasks to complete by the following week, and I can safely say, writing this post on Sunday evening, that all of my tasks have been crossed off. One of which was my tax return, just to put into perspective how much I actually gave myself to do.
What I also found really interesting was how this call started to effect other changes within my usual working routine. Now, I'm not going to lie, I'd say 60% of my working life from home is spent in my pyjamas. Its true, and if you work from home, chances are you have a lot of 'casual fridays' in your home office/studio too. Yet, as my mind was in full accountability mode, I found myself setting my alarm earlier, getting up, dressed and ready to start the day like a normal person who leaves the house and goes to work does. This may sound ridiculous and unfamiliar to you, but what I'm trying to say is that I had completely forgotten how much your physical appearance can influence how you feel about your work. I felt more focussed, more willing to tackle tasks and achieved so much more in the first few hours of the day, which, incidentally, makes you even more productive after having experienced such a task completion high.
Celebrate With A Break
After getting my to-do list items finished earlier than usual, I was able to take some time off this weekend and actually enjoy myself without feeling guilty and wondering if I had done enough this week. Being more disciplined throughout the week meant I was able to relax and unwind from work and recharge my mind. In doing so, I came back from London yesterday feeling ready to go. I was excited to get back to work and start focussing on some of my other goals I had planned out for myself. Imagine that? Actually feeling excited about getting back to work again? And on a Sunday!
Track Your Progress
Another aspect of our weekly catch up is to keep a record of our growth, whether that be sales and finances, social media followers, or newsletter subscribers. We're both working towards getting a system in place where we can track these figures. I have the beautifully curated The Makers Yearbook by Nicola Taylor where I can track the majority of my growth, and seeing how far you've come is such a great motivational tool. Staying on top of all your numbers, and being able to see how much progress you have made definitely helps keep that positive energy alive.
Create A Workspace You Love
It's all well and good getting up and ready to start the day, but if your environment isn't creatively stimulating, you'll find yourself either getting distracted or unable to form inspiring ideas. When the Christmas rush came towards the end of last year and I was attached to my desk creating all your custom calligraphy tag orders, I found myself in a heap of pen, paper and ribbon clutter surrounding the perimeter of my space. Now for me, the space I thrive in is dictated by the task at hand. For example, if I'm working on creative projects such as painting, I like to surround myself with music, visual imagery, and have a generally relaxed and inspiring atmosphere. However, when I'm doing things on the computer, I need to get rid of the clutter on my desk, and have as little to distract me as possible. Take the time to find out how you work best, and create that environment for yourself. If you need to be out of the house to concentrate, then find a local cafe to sit in. Or if you don't feel inspired in your home, then take your Pinterest boards off the screen and onto a physical moodboard that you can look at and swoon over.
I hope these tips will help you start to get more focussed and motivated when working from home. If you have any tips or tricks to help keep you motivated then please pop them in the comments below. I'd love to hear what works for you!
This one is for all the working from home badasses out there.