How To Be Productive: Working At Home When Self Employed
As a self-employed artist, it is up to me on a daily basis to be productive. How to be productive you ask? You may be struggling with it now but it will come to you soon. I have made a list below of things that I believe help me keep on track when working from home. I just want to be clear that one of the great things about being your own boss is that you have complete freedom and control to decide how you spend your day or days. While this list will help you it isn’t a must comply strictly every day. I practice them but I am not uber strict with myself. If I feel like I need a day to laze around or read I’m going to do it. There’s not much point to being a girl boss if you don’t allow yourself to enjoy the little things.
Stick to Your Sleep Schedule
My sleep schedule is around 10:30 pm to 7:30 am. Like I was saying before it’s not written in stone. Sometimes we stay up a little bit later watching that Netflix show that we just can’t seem to shut off. My sleep schedule can vary by 30min-1 hour but as long as I am getting up at a decent time and getting a full day I am ok with that. My work day usually starts at 8:00 am because like I said, I take time to enjoy the little things. Which happens to be a slow start to my morning where I spend some time chilling in bed before I actually get out of it.
Have a Morning Ritual
My morning ritual is waking up, checking my phone, taking my time to get out of bed, throwing some comfies on, going down to my office, tiding up a bit and making myself a tea or coffee. Then I write out my to-do list for the day or week. As insignificant as it seems I really feel like doing these things puts me on the right track to a good work day.
Make a To Do List
I find that making a to-do list is the most important thing. It puts in perspective what you need to get done for either that day or the week. When you can see that written down it puts you into a better mindset to get things done. However, I feel I have moved away from the daily to-do list and over to the weekly to-do list. This is because I was putting up to ten tasks to be done for a single day. When I reached the end of my work day I would feel bad about myself for maybe only getting 3-5 items done. I wasn’t being lazy or unproductive I was just putting too much on my plate for only one day. Using the weekly to-do list has made me stress less, in turn making me happier. 🙂
Email Check Schedule
Only check your emails in the morning and at the end of your workday. If you are constantly replying to emails throughout the day you’ll have a harder time getting anything done. You are a business owner, freelance artist, etc not a receptionist. Know that taking 24 hours to reply to an email is ok.
I know for me I have a hard time sitting at my desk nonstop for hours and hours. Sometimes I push through it because I’m on a roll with a blog post or editing but other times I find it helps me to step away. Breaks help because it literally stops you from getting so bored or frustrated that you quit the day all together. Which definitely can happen if you push yourself too much. It’s better to quit for 15 minutes to do something unproductive than to push yourself off the bandwagon.
Keep Boredom Away
This may just be a problem of the photographer but culling and editing can get real tedious. That’s why when I’m doing these tasks I am either watching Netflix, listening to a podcast or music. I only find listening or watching these things helpful when I’m not trying to write. I find it hard to listen to anything other than classical music because everything else to too distracting.
A Dedicated Workspace
I know this might not be possible for a lot of people but I find it really important to have my own space that I can slip into and know it’s work time. If I didn’t have my space I think it would be harder to keep focus. I’d either have to work in the living room, bedroom or kitchen right? I have everything I need to work including quiet and privacy when in my office. I find my office an invaluable space for my productivity and success because it reminds me that I am a professional and should act and work accordingly.
Keep Your Space Clutter-Free
This may be wrong of me to say seeing as there have been studies saying that creative people do better when working in a cluttered space. I get that for sure. When it comes to a painter or a sculptor I can see that. But I’m a photographer and I don’t have paints or materials to spread around me. It’s usually just me, my computer and my other photography gear. Nonetheless, when I come into my office to start a new day of work and my desk is a landslide of clutter it takes away from my calm and focus. Is that weird? I just feel like it’s been taken over and no longer my dedicated workspace when items from my personal life have crossed the border. When my boyfriend decides to leave his stuff in my office which is the front room of my house it gives me the feeling that it’s not a professional space. That will bug me when I’m working. Therefore, I tidy.
Turn your phone onto vibrate so that you don’t get interrupted. Also, log out of facebook and anything else that will pop up and give you notifications. You will lose a lot of time if you are continually checking your phone and social media accounts.
Work on each item of your list at a time. Bouncing between items is not a good idea. It will take you longer to get these things done. It also helps to allot a certain amount of time to each item on your to-do list. For example, maybe it would take me an hour to an hour and a half to write a blog post. Therefore, it holds me accountable it I do not get my task done during that time.
I hope this article about how to be productive when working at home has been helpful to you 🙂 Check out more articles for photographers and artists on my blog!