TIPS FOR ENTREPRENEURS - HEALTHY WORK-LIFE BALANCE, PRODUCTIVITY & MORE
When people hear I’m a blogger, they mostly assume that I don’t really work. Or that I casually take a few pictures as I walk around all day. As a lot of you know, that couldn’t be farther from the reality. There’s a lot more that goes into it, although that’s a whole other post... If you want to blog as a living, you need to do a lot more than meets the eyes. But that’s what I love about it; I feel like just snapping a few pictures everyday would be SO boring!
Even though I’ve had a few corporate jobs, I’ve worked from home or managed my own schedule pretty much since I was 17. First, I worked remotely as a graphic designer. Then, I was a marketing director and split my time between remote work and being in and out of the office several times a day. I also had my own business and built everything from scratch, with no partners or help. I guess you could say that for my age, I've had a pretty busy professional life!
In the process, I’ve learned so much about working by myself (and for myself), at home or with no one to watch over me. I thought these work tips would be good to share, as I know a lot of you are mad hustlers. So let’s dive right into it, shall we?
Get Dressed In The Morning
This is a tip literally everyone gives, but that’s because it works. Actually, you should have a morning routine like you are leaving for work. There’s nothing more demotivating than staying in your pyjamas all day. I don’t care if you want to be comfortable, I get it. You don’t need to put on a suit or your hottest outfit. Just put on yoga pants and a top, jeans, whatever you feel good in. Just change from the clothes you sleep in (if any), wash your face, brush your teeth, have breakfast, a coffee, whatever you need… Get ready for the day ahead. It’s only a state of mind, but your state of mind is arguably 90% of your success, so… Your call!
This might sound counterintuitive, but there’s actually a lot of studies on the workplace that show that employees are significantly more productive when they’re allowed to take breaks. Obviously don’t make it a two hour break for every hour of work. But if you’ve been stuck on an issue for 20 minutes and you find yourself just staring blankly at your computer, it might help to go for a quick 15 minute walk. Not only will that boost your energy level and give you a quick workout, but it'll also help change your mindset and give you clarity. When you get back to it, that issue might seems like it solved itself. Talk about 20 birds with one stone.
Also, if you work in something creative like blogging or writing, reading a magazine, a book or even watching a quick episode of a TV show might actually be beneficial. It will take your mind off of what you were doing and might even inspire you. I know more than once, I’ve taken a break to watch an episode of Sex and the City while cleaning a little, only to return to work much quicker than I anticipated because I got an idea from the show. Inspiration is everywhere! The only thing you have to be careful with here is not to fall into a binge-watching pitfall. If every single one of your days turns into a Friends marathon, maybe readjust your strategy!
Set Goals & Plan Ahead
The most dangerous thing you can do is just jump into every new day not really knowing what you have to do. Here, having a general idea is not enough! When you work in an office, there’s goals for the entire company, for the department and for each person. Usually, these goals are discussed at meetings, everyone knows about them and holds each other accountable. When you work for yourself, you’re responsible for everything. So YOU have to hold yourself accountable. The best way to do that is to set goals for each day and week, and then break those up into daily tasks. Write them down and cross them as you go.
On a side note, I’m very pen and paper because I find there’s nothing more satisfying than actually crossing out something on paper. It drives Sasha nuts that I won’t use a computer for this, but what can I say, I love my planner! If you’re not so attached to the stone age, you can use Asana. Even I have to recognize it’s a wonderful tool, and it’s free.
Not only is this motivating, but it also serves as a visual reminder of how much you’re actually accomplishing. If you realize that most of your goals and planned tasks go undone, then you know you need to change something. And if you ARE getting a lot done, it's also super motivating to keep going even harder! Motivation is a BIG part of getting shit done, and it's exponential. The more you do, the more you'll wanna do.
Know Yourself & Find Your Workflow
This is actually something you will learn as you go, but it helps a lot to pay attention. You need to learn to know yourself quickly and figure out the best way to make that work for your business. Some people need total silence to be concentrated. Others always need background noise. Personally, I can’t work in total silence, but I also can’t write with lyrical music. Knowing that, I privilege instrumental music when I’m writing. I also keep things interesting and stimulating with podcasts or audio books if I’m shooting content or making a recipe.
Also, are you a morning person or an evening person? Personally, I somehow get very inspired to write after 3-4pm. So I do that, and I keep my mornings free to shoot pictures, do marketing, manage my social media and plan everything. Because I’m a morning person, that’s when I have the most energy to tackle these tasks that require full focus and concentration. This is also a great Segway for my next tip:
Mix It Up
One of the most popular reasons for people to want to be entrepreneurs is not the money or the social status. It’s the ability and the freedom to make their own schedule. So once you have that, why the hell would you make it boring? Have fun with it! Most likely, the more fun you’re having, the most productive you will be. And the less you will mind putting in the hard work and the long hours that you'll need to make any business work.
A simple example: Instead of doing accounting all Monday, then marketing on Tuesday, why don’t you try to get a few different things done every day? Not only does this switches things up and is more interesting, but it’s also a great way to go back on your work and find out if you’ve made mistakes or if something can be corrected or improved.
But then again, it comes back to knowing yourself. If you need a lot of time to get into things, it's maybe better not to go from task to task too much.
Speaking of the long hours and efforts you need to start a business and keep it going, it's impossible not to mention boundaries. And guys, I know how hard it is. I’ll be the first one to interrupt dinner because I had an idea for a post and I need to write everything down NOW. I get it. And if I’m feeling super inspired writing, I won’t stop to start making dinner, so we'll eat late.
But whatever boundaries you need, you need to find out, implement them and stick to them. Some people need a dedicated room in the house to use as an office, otherwise they feel like they’re always at work. I personally don’t mind that because I always feel like I’m at work in my head anyways, no matter where I am. And I love that, that’s what works for me.
On the other hand everyone needs to relax and disconnect sometimes, so I have other boundaries. For example, I NEVER work in bed. I also try as much as possible not to bring my phone to bed. Our bed is for sleeping, watching movies and sex. Nothing else - except a rare breakfast in bed! If it’s late at night and I’m still working on something, I’ll finish whatever it is on my computer and then come to bed.
Alright guys, I hope this post will help some of you plan your days, find a better work-life balance and more importantly, give you the motivation you need to keep going. Being an entrepreneur is hard, but it's also fun, challenging and SO rewarding! Hit me up with YOUR best work tips and let me know what has worked for YOU! You can leave me a comment below or hit me up on Instagram @thehungarianbrunette. I love to read your stories and exchange tips with you guys!
Talk to you real soon, Jenny xx