Read about my self employed journey as a natural and sometimes not so relaxed wedding and family photographer in Yorkshire.
Being self employed can be absolutely awesome if you are a great and kind boss to yourself. A lot of entrepreneurs I know end up working themselves even harder than any employer would have done in the past and their work therefore becomes a drag. Not making time for rest makes more time for work but this work ends up being a lot less productive. We all know it and still don’t look after ourselves enough. Why? Because it is hard to give yourself full permission to rest, yet so important. I had to learn this too when I started out and feel I have got a pretty good idea of what makes me a good boss to myself by now.
In this blog post I want to share some simple yet powerful tools to a better self employed work life.
As this is part 2, check out part 1 for some more tips here.
Build a strict routine and stick to it!
The morning routine
Such a simple yet powerful tool to really differentiate from private and work time. Working from home can mean this two things can become a blur and neither time feels well spent as you could alway do the other. Therefore getting your brain into work mode before starting is key. I personally have another little human depending on me which is one great way to get focused. My alarm goes off at seven. I need to get up, be sociable, make and more importantly have breakfast, have a shower, get dressed, breathe some fresh air on the walk to nursery come back home through the door. Work time!
Of course there is hundreds of ways to make this your way. I know of some of my colleagues who do one or a combination of these things every morning: Go get the newspaper from the corner shop, have a quick coffee at the bakery, go for half an hour walk, take a shower, have breakfast on the terrace. There is no limit as long as it is something you do every single day. Your brain will know what is going on and will thank you for it.
Know exactly how long you are going to work today and what time your day will finish
This will give you a target to focus on. Don’t let it all become a big slush and just work until your bum feels like a dead fish and your brain has been fried. Not a good felling to end the day plus I can guarantee that the last couple of hours of that work day will be so slow and contra productive you might as well not work. If you have set yourself a realistic time you want to work that day and a time to finish, your work day will feel better and more productive and you’ll have more time to relax.
The work routine
For me there is nothing worse than sitting down and thinking: “Right, what am I doing today.” As we all know the work is never ending, there is always stuff to do and focusing on one thing at a time can be hard enough with distractions coming at you from all sides. With our morning routine we have geared ourselves up for work. We know it is not time for washing up, browsing the internet for your kids birthday present or a quick hover round the house. It is work time and with your finish time in mind, you’ll know exactly when you’ll have time for other tings.
This is how I did it. I sat down and wrote down all the tasks that I need to do weekly. Edit photos, schedule Instagram posts, write a blog, sort through expenses, reply to emails, work on my SEO and so on. I also scheduled time for current projects which could be updating my website, designing a new flyer for my next fair etc. As a result I looked at the time I had to work each week (again you are your own boss, be strict with yourself and know exactly when is work time), and wrote down what I am doing every single day for exactly how long. This means at the end of the day I know exactly what I have achieved and can end the day with a good, productive feeling.
The beauty of being self employed is that you can work the way YOU want to. Make this something positive.
The right time of day
Recognising the way how you work at your best is key to a productive day. Are you a night owl? Use it to your advantage. Don’t force yourself to get up at seven if it makes you feel crap. Sleep till ten and work once everybody is in bed and it is nice and quiet. I am an absolute Grandma, getting up early working and snuggling on the couch from seven with bed at ten is my dream but this is me not you!
The right length of scheduled tasks
How is your concentration? In school we all have to learn the same way. I have great news for you! We are all courages self employed entrepreneurs and you can work however you feel like. As long as you know what works best. Are you great at putting your head down, getting really stuck into a project and don’t look up for six hours? Brilliant! I know that I can’t concentrate for much longer than 1,5 hours without a little break. I used this information to build my schedule.
The magic thing with time
Once you build your strict routine you will find you get more done and have more time on top! On good days I work more then initially scheduled (not longer, just faster on every task!) This means, towards the end of the week on a Friday I might find myself sitting down and realising I have done everything I wanted to. If I feel motivated I start a new project and if not, I go for a run, drink coffee, read my magazine and enjoy life. Happy self employed days! For cold stay in the house free hours I might treat myself to some tiny desk concerts. Here is one of my favourites: Anderson. Paak & The Free Nationals: Tiny desk concerts
I hope this was helpful. I would love some messages and tips about your story and self employed journey. What has helped you to keep yourself happy when self employed?
As this was part 2, check out some more tips in part 1 here.