Running a creative business can be tricky when you're new to working from home. Staying productive and meeting deadlines seems easy at first, but the reality is that it's not.
Since going full-time as a freelance writer back in June 2012, I've enjoyed the luxury of not having to put make-up on daily, dress in boring corporate wear or think of ways to style my hair that didn't offend those in the office.
And yes, that really was a daily occurrence! #corporatelife
While it might be appealing to most to not have to worry about someone checking up on you or having to deal with late bus schedules or public transportation in general, the lack of some of these things are what can be challenging when you work from home.
These sorts of things force productivity.
If you're accountable to someone on a day to day basis, you have no choice but to get stuff done.
Flip that over to freelancing, running your own business, and working from home — now you're only accountable to you.
Yes, you have clients but they are not going to be following up with you daily or looking over your shoulder.
And this is where the danger lies — particularly if you're a procrastinator or find it difficult to self motivate.
So, how do you get stuff done and be productive when you don’t have the regulations and discipline that a ‘normal’ job provides? Like this…
Table of Contents
7 Productivity Tips For Creative Business Owners
#1: Have a routine
This is pretty obvious but so many people don’t do it. This means that you need to have some sort of form to your day. For me, I schedule chunks of time for specific things into my calendar.
This not only helps with creating a routine, but it also provides me with an idea of what I need to achieve in a day. If you’re not a huge planner, that’s fine, but you still need to get up at the same time every day, eat breakfast or whatever it is you do to start the day.
The beauty of working from home and being a freelancer is that your day can look however you want it to – so create it.
#2: Take a break
This is still something that I struggle with on a daily basis, particularly when I’ve got a large project on the go. I tend to get so caught up that I forget to take a break.
Natalie Sisson, the Suitcase Entrepreneur is a huge advocator of taking regular breaks — breaks away from your actual work area, such as taking a walk outside, maybe going to get your nails done or having a haircut.
Whatever works for you, just make sure you take a large break at some point during your day.
Not only will it help in your productivity, but it will also help in your business – remember, inspiration happens in the most unlikely places and at the most unlikely times.
Take the time out that you need – schedule it in if you have to.
This also includes making sure that you don’t work all weekend too. Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you need to be working 24/7.
Limit yourself to the amount of work you do. Turn your notifications off, don’t answer phone calls after a certain time, that sort of thing.
Give yourself the break you need and spend time with those you love instead. They deserve your undivided attention too.
#4: Aim for minimalism
Create an office space that is minimal in distractions but functions the way you need it to.
If you have too much going on in your office, it can become overwhelming and more difficult to work than it should be.
Keep your work space minimalistic and you’ll see an increase in your overall productivity.
#5: Utilize technology
Are you using the tech around you to the best of its ability?
Did you know that your iPad or tablet can double as another screen? I use mine all the time when I’m writing.
I use my iPad to load up all the research links and then write on my Macbook Air. It works so well and stops me flipping between screens, which can be super annoying to work with on a continuous basis.
Make sure that the tech around you is being used to it’s best advantage. You might also find that you’ve doubled up and can actually get rid of some items as well.
#6: Create systems
Is there a process you can create to help with this?
Create systems to make your work day run smoother.
For me, I utilize programs like Evernote to keep track of all my ideas, projects and client work.
I also use Freshbooks for all my accounting needs and IFTTT to take care of some of the more mundane parts of what I do, like create spreadsheets based on parameters I set, or keeping track of the items in Pocket and Feedly that I ‘star’ as these are obviously important.
#7: Create a content schedule
As a creative business owner, you will find that a large portion of what you do is around creating content – whether that’s for your clients or for yourself.
The best way to manage this and ensure that its going to get done when it needs to be done, is to create a content schedule.
If you use WordPress, I recommend using CoSchedule. You can create a schedule that not only posts blog posts for you, but also manages social media posting, all from the one place.
It’s a great way to quickly see what your month ahead looks like. That way you can plan ahead in terms of writing.
Were these tips helpful? Is productivity an issue for you at home? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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