Article By: Temi Koleowo
The Australian Opens is upon us, as an avid lawn tennis fan (well the grand slams) I love to watch tennis especially when the top seeds are playing. The downside is because I work from home, it is so easy to justify some time off to watch the matches especially with sky+ at your beck and call.
Whilst I reluctantly shun the TV most times, it dawned on me that it takes a lot of self-discipline to be self-employed. It also takes an added measure to work from home and be self-employed.
There is the need to watch what you eat as the kitchen is just a few steps away. You need to also control the impulses to catch your favourite day time TV program or catch up with friends on the phone. After all there is no boss standing over your shoulder, watching your every move. I also have a pre-schooler with me twice a week in the mornings which makes the mix even more interesting.
How to Exercise Self-Discipline
I try as much as possible make my home arrangement work for me. Even if you work from your stairway, you should still treat your business like a real business. If you are starting out, make sure you put the right things in place to make your self-employment effective and efficient.
Some of things I do to keep distractions at bay:
I have set work hours (most days).
No response to personal phone calls during my working hours – except calls from the school which thankfully are rare. I have told my family and close friends, ‘if urgent please send a text’.
No TV for me during my work hours. I ensure the plug is switched off from the wall.
Dedicate 2 mornings a week to my pre-schooler and find things to engage him on his own – luckily he loves puzzles and numbers. This gives me about 30 minutes uninterrupted time sometimes!
Strict lunch routines, I endeavour to prepare my lunch either prior to starting work or go for a light lunch with minimal preparation time.
Set realistic work hours. I take into account the 5-10 minutes break from the computer from time to time.
I use a daily to-do-list which I check regularly especially after a completed task.
I keep necessary phone conversation to a minimum except pre-scheduled clients phone meet.
I try to stick to the time slot for each appointment.
I visit the shops on my own time – outside my working hours. If I really have to go, make up the time later in the day.
These are some of the ways I am able to stay focused (well most of the time). Of course there will be the times when things just do not go according to plan, but I try to work round it by keeping a log of time deficits. For instance I just had to watch Djokovic/Murray Australian Open semi-final match! Working from home does not excuse the lack of a regular routine and some form of discipline to help you grow your business. A good home structure and a lot of self-discipline are great assets for every self-employed person to give your business a chance to survive….and keep stress at bay.
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