Three months ago I took the plunge, I quit my day job and started working for myself full time media training and coaching experts, authors and entrepreneurs and producing videos and podcasts with them. I’ve had a great time since I left Fox News — I spoke at the PRSA Tri-State Conference for PR professionals, been interviewed by Peter Shankman about listmaking and started a radio show (more on that later!)
But since I’ve made the crossover to becoming self employed, I’ve had to make a few adjustments. My productivity style that had worked so well for me before just wasn’t quite fitting in with my new lifestyle.
The key to productivity is all about finding what works for you, and as our lives change, so must our lists!
Here are a few lessons I’ve learned along the way:
Boundaries are important – My life used to be more clear cut, during the day I was a news producer and at night I was a productivity expert and media consultant. These days everything seems to have merged together a bit more. It’s not as easy to avoid the fatal error of list mixing. I’m having to be more clear cut with my time, in my schedule I allocate time slots to specific projects or to free time. So during those hours I’m only focussed on those tasks. I’ve been putting more tasks in my calendar instead of just on my list so I follow that more closely now.
Make a little room – When you work for yourself it’s tempting to try and get all your work out the way so you can ‘clock out’ nice and early. But tasks take longer than expected, that’s just how it is. Trying to cram too much into your schedule is not just unreasonable, it’s stressful. Which defeats the whole point of an early finish. It’s important to let things take time and work to your natural schedule. Plus the truth is there will always be more to do!
Know your productivity style – It’s important for everyone to know their productivity style, but this is especially true of entrepreneurs. Now that I have a bit more freedom with my time I can can use it to my advantage. I like getting up early to dilly dally – not to do work! I’ve always been like that. Now I ease into my day and get to work by at least 10 AM. I work for a few hours and then take a break for lunch. If you know that you tend to be sluggish right after lunch you can block that time out in your calendar. Being honest about yourself and your habits is crucial!
Take a break – When you work from home it’s tempting to be in ‘work mode’ all the time. Weekdays and weekends can all blur into one. But this really isn’t sustainable, it’s important to switch off every once in a while. That email really can wait until tomorrow! This has been the hardest part for me. I’m thinking of setting an alarm or even just scheduling those break times into my calendar so I’m sure to do them. Another thing I’m hoping to do is to not schedule any coaching calls on Fridays so I can catch up and do some of the stuff I heard entrepreneurs do like go to yoga classes and meet friends for lunch!