But I think one of the biggest adjustments was the difference between working in an office, 7:30-4:30 every weekday, to working from home on my own schedule.
Since I was no longer required to go into an office, no one could physically see whether I was working or not. Now it was up to me to be sure that I was disciplined enough to get my work done! As someone who is very ambitious and goal-oriented, I also needed to learn how to stay focused and not get overwhelmed.
Here are the three biggest tips that helped me make that switch from a corporate setting to my comfy home office.
Tip 1: Set Firm Boundaries Around Work
It’s very tempting to be “on” all the time, as an entrepreneur, especially when you can do a lot of your work from your phone. Answering just one more email or social media message can quickly suck you into a full-blown work session.
As a mom to an active toddler, it’s nearly impossible to work while she’s awake. That pretty much forces my boundaries! I complete 95% of my work before she wakes up and during her naptime. The occasional extra meeting can be squeezed in when I have an extra pair of hands or during her Ms. Rachel screentime, and I also like to use the weekends to catch up when necessary.
But before she reached this stage, my work/personal lifelines were constantly blending. My workdays never seemed to end – and that caused burnout! So set up a work schedule that works for you, including breaks. Respect your energy levels and make sure you’re intentionally logging out at a set time. This will help make you more efficient when you are “on the clock.”
In my email signature, my work hours are clearly listed so that my clients know when they can expect to hear from me. I’m also careful to note that I will respect their boundaries, too!
Tip 2: Selectively Schedule Meetings
In the corporate world, there are meetings about meetings about meetings. When I started working for myself, the idea that we needed to have a meeting about everything was a hard habit to break! Even in a virtual working world, meetings can become excessive.
Sometimes meetings are necessary but sometimes, they’re just big time sucks. Before you schedule a meeting, ask yourself two questions:
- Is this really necessary?
- Is there another way we could communicate this information?
Other methods of “meeting” could include Voxer, Loom, or email exchanges. This will still get the information transferred between parties, without the need for a face-to-face event.
Scheduling fewer meetings also helped me personally because, as an introvert, meetings take a lot of my mental energy. After back-to-back meetings, I am less creative and crafting excellent and authentic copy for my clients becomes harder. Fewer time-consuming meetings saves my mental energy and allows me to create better content for my clients. It also makes me more efficient as a business owner.
Today, my Zoom meetings are reserved for:
- Prospective client discovery calls (30 minutes or less)
- Client content planning calls (45 minutes or less)
- New client launch calls (60 minutes or less)
- 1-2x monthly check-ins with Amanda, my Online Business Manager (30 minutes or less)
Tip 3: Clearly Define Your Role
After working with Melissa Swink of Melissa Swink & Co., early on in my business, I learned how to grow and scale my business through automation and outsourcing. Here’s a blog that covers how she helped me transform from a freelancer to a true business owner.
What does that look like, today? It means I focus my working hours only on things that I, as the business owner, have to do. As the point of contact for every Emily Writes client, that means I handle client-facing communications (and meetings!) and deliver all final, polished content.
But I’m not writing every piece of content, or taking care of things like back-end analytics, research, and project management. My team helps cover those areas! Because our roles are clearly defined, my to-do list is much more manageable and I can be efficient with my time.
I’m interested to know… what do you do to increase your efficiency and optimize your creative energy while working from home? Let me know!
If you liked this blog, you might also like my tips covered here: Managing Stress While Running a Business.