Running a home-based online business takes a lot more dedication and will-power than many people realize. Since you are the boss, there is no higher authority present to enforce discipline and make sure you get the job done. It’s all down to you and how focussed and disciplined you are.
It can also be a challenge to maintain productivity throughout the day. You might sit in front of your computer for 10 hours a day, but how much of that time is actually spent working? How much time do you spend checking your email and social media accounts, or simply surfing the Internet?
That is where a few quick and dirty productivity hacks can help you get more done while still allowing you to do all the other stuff you like doing online every day…
Hack #1: Schedule Your Stuff
One of the attractions of working from home is that it gives you the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want. However, you can only do that if you are actually making enough money to cover your cost of living.
Scheduling your stuff will help you get your work done AND enjoy your freedom much more. By laying out a clear weekly and monthly schedule you will know when you need to focus on building your online business and when you can go off and do other stuff.
I use a “Campus Diary” to block in my weekly and monthly schedule.
[February 2016 Update] Recently, I have also found it helpful to set out Quarterly and ten-day goals to keep myself committed to moving forward in my business and other projects.
Hack #2: Write Down Your Daily Tasks
Another tip to help you improve your planning and time management is to write down your daily tasks. Some people use a notebook, others prefer a white-board for their daily To-Do list.
I use Japanese Maruman Septcouleur spiral notebooks with one page for each day. I use the right page for the daily To Do list, and the left page for other notes.
No matter what method you prefer, writing down your daily tasks will enable you to see at a glance what you need to do. Cross out each task as you complete it and you will feel a sense of accomplishment as you get your jobs done during the course of the day.
Hack #3: Practise Deferred Gratification
If you are an email or Facebook junkie, set a limit on when and how often you check your inbox and news feeds. Make sure you have completed AT LEAST an hour of PRODUCTIVE work before you check your social media and email accounts! Ideally, you should aim to check your email and social media accounts just once a day, AFTER you have got all your other jobs done.
If you love to watch a particular television programme, plan to have a break when it is on, or even better, record the show and watch it as a reward after you have finished your day’s work.
Putting off the fun stuff is known as “deferred gratification.” The more you can train yourself to defer gratification, the more productive you will be, and the more you will enjoy your pleasures when you engage in them.
Hack #4: Just Say NO!
In his book, The Power of No, James Altucher writes,
“When you say yes to something you don’t want to do, here is the result: you hate what you are doing, you resent the person who asked you, and you hurt yourself.”
By saying, kindly but firmly, “No!” to all the things that you don’t want to do, and all the things that will distract you from getting your business jobs completed, you will regain control over your life.
Apply these four productivity hacks to your online business and you will sharpen your focus, get more done, feel a greater sense of satisfaction when you take a break and engage in scheduled free-time activities.