So you work out of your home, and you’re wondering why the business isn’t as strong as it should be. Is your business really your top priority?
While I love working out of my home and wouldn’t trade it for anything, you have to be disciplined to make sure everything works.
Perhaps you feel overloaded, that there is so much to do you’ll never catch up. Or maybe you live for the crisis to appear, dreading it all the way. This is the first sign of failure. If you let this feeling of overwhelm seep in, you’ll quickly be on a downward spiral instead of building for the future.
Take charge now. If any of these pitfalls are affecting you now, its time to make a change.
Mistake #1 Failing To Keep A To Do List
Have you ever had that nagging feeling that you are missing something? If so, you probably don’t use a to do list in order to keep things prioritized. Many people think to do lists are a sign of weakness, or a sign of a bad memory. Not true at all. Instead, a to do list keeps you balanced and focused. And helps you prioritize what you will do during the day, and what should take precedence over everything else.
It’s easy to establish business goals. In fact you probably have a list of them in your office. Even if it’s a short list, business goals come easy as we are focusing in on our businesses. But what about your personal goals? What are your business dreams going to do to help you achieve all you want out of life?
Business goals help you establish the type of lifestyle you’ve dreamed about. But once you have the funding within the business, your personal goals are what give your life meaning. Do you want a one month family vacation every summer? Or to be able to buy your dream house? Or maybe send your kids to the colleges of their choice?
Create both sides of your dream, and use it to define what you do every day. The bigger and more concrete your dreams are, the better chance you have of achieving them.
Mistake #3: Not Prioritizing
Everyone has things they love to do, and things they hate. When your to do list is filled with both, you’ll quickly move the things you love to the top of your list – unless you prioritize.
I once worked with a business owner who hated phone calling. In fact she would do whatever she could to avoid picking up the phone. She admitted it up front to me, so we knew that was her weakness. While I never advise anyone to take up cold calling, there are times when it’s important to call “strangers” and make a connection.
If this business owner has a task of “calling” on her list, it will always be at the bottom. Even if she has to choose between “taking out the trash” and “calling the potential customer”, she would prefer the trash.
When you realize this, you have to change what you do. You have to prioritize your to do list, and start doing the things you hate if they should be at the top of your list. It’s the only way you’ll grow.
Mistake #4: Not Managing Your Distractions
Ever had a friend or family member call you in the middle of your workday just to chat? You’re at home, why can’t you?
The problem is you are at work, even if you happen to be at home. If you answer the phone, or accept the invitation to lunch, you are allowing them to cross over your boundaries. Instead, establish your rules at the beginning, and stick with it.
If you love to work from 6 to 10 every morning with no interruptions, put your phone on mute and don’t answer it. That’s what voice messaging is for. Establish your rules up front, and then stick with them. You can always call them back when it’s convenient for you. And if you tell them “I’m not available between 6 to 10” they will very quickly get the hint.
Mistake #5 Procrastination
This goes hand in hand with not prioritizing. If you don’t enjoy a job, or you don’t know where to begin, it’s easy to put it off for another day. The problem is one day turns into two, one week turns into one month, and soon it no longer matters.
Instead, ask yourself what is holding you back from this job. Is it to large? Do you not understand what to do?
Once you discover what’s holding you back, you can start breaking it down into smaller tasks. Maybe task one is to spend 10 minutes online searching for solutions. Or to call someone in your network for a consultation to learn more about it.
As you discover more information, continue building your list. Get it as detailed as possible, and conquer each step one at a time.
Mistake #6: Multitasking
We’re all guilty of it. We think we can get several things done at once. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve chatted with a client on the phone, while I run through the bank’s drive through, all on the way to pick up my daughter from school.
And if you put me at my desk, I’ll have dozens of windows open, all with a variety of different projects I need to complete. But is that the best use of your time? Studies increasingly say no.
Instead, choose one task or project, focus on it, and get it done. It will come together much quicker, and you’ll quickly be able to move on.
Mistake #7: Scheduling Your Day Ineffectively
Do you take charge of your schedule? Or does it take control over you?
Sit down and plan out your ideal day. What would it look like? What would you do? If you work out of your home, you can do anything you choose.
If you are a morning person, get up early and get your office work completed. I’m always up by 6, and use the first couple of hours in the day to get my computer work finished.
Then choose how you spend the rest of the day. Lunch with the kids? Dinner with the family? A yoga class in the afternoon? Clients in the evening?
There are no pre-established rules on when to do things. So do each item when you prefer to do it. There are 24 hours in the day. Use them effectively for what you want out of your life.