How To Have A Successful Day With Home Business
It is a sense of total freedom to be able to own a business and work from home. As long as you're making a profit, you can schedule your flexible working hours in the way you want. It is possible to take a day off or plan a vacation spontaneously as long as your business allows - you don't have to worry about your colleagues or bosses. But equally your mindset can easily slip off if you don't plan a basic "Successful Day With Home Business" rule and stick to it.
What Was Wrong With My Daily Routine?
I get up between 1:00 - 1:30 a.m. (yes, 1-2 in the morning!) because of our 13 years old dog with a long-term illness that's affecting his sleeping pattern. After all the testing and consulting with vets, concluded this was not avoidable. My partner leaves home for work early in the morning at 5:30 a.m.
I live in the UK and own three separate businesses; (1) accountancy services to UK clients (2) retail business involving customers & suppliers based in South East Asia and (3) online marketing involving associates in the USA. Working along with different time zones means my working hours can be scattered literally throughout of 24 hours a day. I haven't slept in the past 4 years... I'm kidding, of course I need to sleep. So my weekday routine was something like this;
- 1:00 - 5:00 Catch up with US suppliers/customers online on marketing business.
- 4:00 Contact customers in Singapore (12:00 local time) for retail business.
- 5:00 Running, gym exercise, shower, breakfast. My partner leaves home.
- 6:00 - 9:00 Accountancy work for UK clients
- 9:00 - 11:00 Take a late morning nap!
- 11:00 - 12:00 Take the dog out for a walk, see friends for early lunch or coffee.
- 12:00 - 15:00 Any priority work for all three businesses.
- 15:00 - 17:00 Prepare dinner, cleaning, Email associates in the US (East/Central, 9-12:00 local time)
- 17:00 - 21:00 Dinner, bath, family time. Catching up with suppliers/clients in California.
- 21:00 Go to bed.
What is wrong with this routine? I thought segmenting my day by business would improve my workflow. Set my alarm clock and by switching my job from one to another when the alarm goes off, I could organise myself better.
To some extent it worked. But not so much. I still ended up checking emails while cooking and Skyping with suppliers while walking in the park. I was "at work" more than 12 hours a day.
Like many others, the aim of online marketing for me is to receive passive income so that I have less & less work over time. I needed to insert a "cut-off" line at late afternoon so that I could enjoy my personal life. After all, there's nothing "continually urgent" about online marketing unless you have particularly demanding clients.
And more importantly, by scattering jobs and home chores throughout the day, the core objective (other than earning passive income from online marketing)
Let Others Know Your (New) Schedule
What I have done is to let others - customers, suppliers and other miscellaneous contacts. I don't have a resource (i.e. staff) to provide a 24/7 support service, obviously. People know I from the UK and appreciated the fact that I often responded real-time. I advised them that unless urgent, I would only available on Skype between 6 a.m. - 3 p.m. UK time (local times accordingly), because of my other work commitments. Which I already had.
By doing this way, I forced my time after 3 p.m. to be completely private to my home, friends and family. I do check emails in the evening at times, but I put them in my job reminder for the following day instead of responding right away.
Clear The Space In The Morning
I do clean the house in the afternoon, primarily because we have a cat as well as a dog and need to vacuum the floor daily. I want it clean before my partner comes home. But just like office cleaners do their job early in the morning - it's good your work space is clean and clutter-free in the morning.
Make Time For Your Strategy
It may come naturally if you have an annual sales target for example, in order to achieve your goals you need to plan your quarterly routine, monthly routine, then weekly, and daily at last. By chasing the routines one after another and speaking to anyone who's involved in my business as they come along, I lost my way to keep my feet on the ground. My initial strategy was rocked and swayed by my own daily routines.
I spend 30 minutes - 1 hour a week to review my goals and targets, also to plan for rest of the year and beyond. I have my own checklist to go through. This is working well in order to see what I have achieved, what I've missed and decide what I'm going to do about it.
Weekly Schedule Is As Important
I'd like to get my hands on all three jobs every day and keep myself updated. But I was making my work chaotic by trying to deal with 3 jobs at all times everyday. I have decided to dedicate the whole each day of 3 days a week to one job since, and things have become much more organised.
In my case for example, Monday - tax advice work all day, Wednesday - retail job all day, Friday - online marketing job all day. And Tuesday & Thursday are to catch up with any of the three.
I spend up to an hour anytime over the weekend to revise what I've done during the week, and plan the following week. As well as to spend up to an hour to review my medium to long term strategy as mentioned above.
Power Of Good-Night Sleep And Siesta
Unfortunately because of the problem with my dog, it is difficult to have a solid, continuous sleep for more than 4-5 hours at night and I can get very tired and go back to bed late in the morning for 2 hours as a result. My day is much more productive and concentrated when I've slept for 7 hours at night (rarely but occasionally). That says the importance of a good night sleep.
Study by Dr. Sara C. Mednick is often mentioned when you talk about a power nap. She is a sleep expert, psychologist at University of California and author of "Take A Nap! Change Your Life".
It explains briefly here >>> "The Secret [and surprising] Power of Naps" 15-90 minutes of power nap will make your day much more productive. And there's a further useful information;
- 20-minute power nap - good for alertness and motor learning skills such as typing, playing the piano.
- 30-60 minute sleep - good for decision-making, memorising vocabulary and recalling directions.
- 60-90 minute sleep - making new connections in the brain and solving creative problem.
How To Have A Successful Day With Home Business
Schedule your work plan daily as well as weekly. Make sure your work space is clean and clear of clutters. Get some exercise. Take an adequate level of rest every few hours - have a power nap. Have at least 7 hours of sleep at night if you can. Eat healthy. And enjoy your work!