Part of my motivation for becoming self employed was having more control over how I spend my working week. I’ve got a certain amount of work that needs doing in any given week and I don’t always work most productively during traditional working hours.
But it’s not particularly practical for most businesses to allow their employees to just work 6am to midday and then crack back on at 8pm for a few hours, is it?
So that, coupled with a desire to ditch my commute and get hands on with client work again, led me to going solo.
Since setting up on my own, my workload is definitely not smaller. According to recent workplace stress statistics, 39% of us are regularly stressed at work and our workload is the primary cause of this stress. So what do we do about it?
Well, I’m no expert. But almost 2 years into my own self employment, I’ve picked up a few tricks that’ve helped me (and that I hope will help you):
Writing Stuff Down on Paper!
I use a system called Plutio for task management (I love it and no, I’m not on commission). I have everything in there, but I still find I need to get up each morning and write down what I need to complete that day on paper. Actual paper. Maybe it’s physically ticking things off that’s the key here. I don’t know why. But I need a ticky list each day.
Schedule Your Day Around Your Most Productive Hours
The mornings are the best time for me to sit down and work on documentation and large output centric documents. I get so much more done in the morning on this sort of thing.
So the afternoons I make for calls and meetings – things that don’t require the same sit-down-and-stare-at-this-screen focus for so long.
I work literally twice as quickly on documentation early on in the day, so by building my day around these hours, I can get the most out of my time.
I’ll often take time out of the day in the afternoon and pick tasks back up in my more productive evening hours too.
Take a Walk
When I’m stressed, I need to walk away from whatever is causing my stress. I recognise that I don’t think as clearly stressed, I don’t work as quickly and the quality of my output isn’t as high.
So if I’m having a particularly stressy day, I walk away. My office is based a stone’s throw from a beautiful reservoir and half hour out walking is enough to clear my head and get me back to a better place where I can focus and work properly.
I’m not just talking about business goals. I’m talking about life goals – things you want to achieve that your business will make possible. For me, they’re usually experience led rather than material led. They’re places I want to see with my family and so on. When I need a bit of a kick up the backside every now and then, I focus on those goals.
Try Different Productivity Techniques
Take “Me” Time
Sometimes, you need to just go and do something for you. Burnout is a real thing. Taking the time, even if it means moving some tasks around, don’t sacrifice time to yourself or time to do something you just love.