Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Business 101: The Art of Self-Discipline and Nachos

When it comes to running your own online business, one thing you'll need  is self-discipline.  But in order to have self-discipline, you have to have motivation and a realistic view of your work style.

Being your "own boss" can be challenging.  There's often a teeter-totter mindset that shifts continually from "Wowzers! I'm rockin' and rollin' on this project!" to "Ugh. I'd rather scrub the lasagna pan than try to come up with another idea right now." Perfectly normal. 

So in an effort to help you feel a bit better,  here are a few things I've tried and have found to be effective:

1) Write a list each day of what you want to accomplish. Notice I said "want". It's good to set "lofty" goals, but it's also good to be realistic at the end of the day. Lining up a list of "impossible to finish" tasks will often lead to feeling  like you need a nap...just from reading your list.  And beating yourself up for not accomplishing your list...will make you feel like taking a nap. And from what I understand, the most productive way to spend your work time isn't taking naps.

2) Tell someone what you are doing that day.  Tell your friend, your spouse....the cashier at the coffee shop.  It works like a nonscary verbal contract. If you do what you said, your confidant will applaud you for great work and if you don't do what you said....well...they can applaud you for your creative excuse.   A win-win.

3) Set the number of hours you want to work for the day....and keep them.  Set an alarm and work until it goes off. And be realistic on this too.  If you know you are pretty much spent when you get home, then only schedule a short amount of time to work.  You'll get more done in a short amount of time focusing than trying to wrestle with your desire to sit on the couch with a spoonful of cookie dough and watch reruns of "The Golden Girls".  Been there.... and it's always the same outcome each time. Those ladies always love being friends.

4) Create a quiet place. You don't need a home office with a fake ficus tree and inspirational posters to do your work.  You just need a place to "think".  And one that is off limits to traffic during your working hours. If you can get everyone in your house to freeze like that scene in "The Matrix"....that's ideal.

5) Get all of your fun websites looked at before you begin.  See what's going on with Facebook. Check out the latest smores recipes on Pinterest.  Read the news story about the baby elephant.  If you don't, they just sit on your shoulder and nag you to do it.  Don't fight it. It's too strong. Save your energy for your work.

6) Get all your snacks together and bring them to your workspace....first.  Spending 20 minutes of your work time making nachos with all the fixins sounds delightful....if your working on a football draft.  But if you are actually trying to accomplish some true work, satisfy your culinary desires beforehand.  This also applies to beverages, desserts, and sudden 7-course dinners.

7) Give yourself some verbal "gold stars". Yes. I am saying to talk to yourself. Out loud.  Finish a page? "Good job!" Create a cover? "That looks fantastic!" Finish the whole product? "Where's my big orange cup...and the wine?!"  I recommend using that last one at the end of your work period.

8) Know when to fold 'em. If you are exhausted....give yourself a pass.  It's okay.  Your "boss" is cool...and empathetic.  They know you don't do this all the time. And they know where you live if you don't show up again.

9) Throw away all those preconceived notions of what you think "work" should look like.  Your working style is YOUR style.  Like mornings? Work in the mornings. Don't have time to work on weeknights? Work on the weekends.  There is no law about when or how you work. You work when YOU can work....and how you can work. So maybe you only can crank out a product once a month. Okay. If deep inside you are good with this...and you aren't letting any outside voices tell you otherwise...then great! You've found YOUR style. You go!

10) And finally.  I saved this one for last. It's my best secret.  If you really want to crank some good work out during your "work time"...pretend you are working for someone else.  Think of a person that you have worked for that you produced your best work, and pretend they are your boss now.  It seriously helps with keeping your products top-notch and your productivity time at its best. And you can put them in better looking clothes....because you can.

Anyway....I've done all of these. Sometimes in one day. Sometimes twice a day. Most of the time with the nachos.

Here's another great article about staying motivated:
http://under30ceo.com/10-tips-for-stayi … -business/

And here's one about self-discipline from an online entrepreneur:
http://ohmyhandmade.com/2013/small-busi … -yourself/
 
Rebecca