we are our own standard.
One of the most amazing blessings of being your own boss is that you don't work on anyone else's timetable but your own. YOU decide when you wake up, when you start "office hours", when you take a day off, how late into the night you're willing to work, and if you even get dressed in the morning or just work in PJs all day (that's a very a real thing).
It's so freeing. And so dangerous.
Here's the problem – when we're our own standard for excellence, it's incredibly easy to slack off and get lazy. It's an immense privilege to work from home but it's amazingly easy to get distracted by non work-related projects. "I need to run a few errands right now so I'll work later." "Well, I have some personal projects to complete, so I can just work later this evening." Before we know it, we've wasted the whole day doing other things and ultimately accomplished nothing for our businesses.
As our own bosses (and quite possibly the only employee in our businesses), we are the only thing standing between complacency and progress and if we don't choose to maintain the hustle, we only have ourselves to blame. I've definitely struggled with this over the past years as I started my own business as a wedding photographer and learned the hard way how to manage time effectively and keep motivated...here are some of my favorite ways to maintain the hustle and strive for excellence.
1. create a Schedule – and keep it.
One of the benefits of being your own boss is that you get to set your own hours. So, SET YOUR OWN HOURS! Rather than waking up and randomly working throughout your day, actually set a schedule. Know when you're going to get up, when you're going to start work, and when you're going to be done for the day. And then, imagine this, actually keep that schedule (mind-blowing, right?). You still have the freedom to tweak that schedule so it fits your needs best (perks of being your own boss!!) but set yourself a schedule and then adhere to it...you'll get so much more done.
2. Minimize Distractions.
We live in a world of constant distractions. Cell phones beeping, emails hitting our inboxes, people vying for our attention, YouTube videos asking to be watched, and don't even get me started on social media.
But to effectively run and grow your own business, you need to minimize those distractions so you can focus. I've set my email notifications to only hit my phone once an hour, and even then I usually don't check them...I set aside a particular time in the day to do that (hey look, that's the first point!). I put away my phone and only answer if it's something I need to address for work (or telemarketers...I have way too much fun messing with telemarketers). Social media doesn't even get opened unless I'm specifically posting something for work or on a break because I know how easy it is to get sucked into the black hole of endless browsing.
My point is – whatever it is that distracts you, put it away and lock it down. The only way you'll grow your business is if you focus on it – so, minimize the things that distract you so you can be effective.
3. keep work & personal separate.
I have a separate room where I go to work, edit, write blogs, etc. Why? Because if I'm sitting on my couch I'm bound to get distracted by the happenings of everyday life and forget that I have a business to run (hey look, the second point!). But creating a separate space to work is just the tip of the iceberg. Finding ways to separate your work from your personal life not only gives you the drive to passionately pursue work when it's time to work but also the freedom to enjoy relaxing and fun when you're not working.
Don't be the work-obsessed entrepreneur who's always on the phone, checking emails, and trying to grow the business even when you're with friends or family. Save that work for your work hours. Conversely, don't think for a second that you can grow your business without scheduling work-only time where you focus solely on work. You need time for both...so schedule out that time, and then stick with it.
I'm going to end with a quote from a book I'm currently reading called "The One Thing" (it's a great book, well worth the read)...
"The question of balance is really a question of priority...extraordinary results demand that you set a priority and act on it. When you're supposed to be working, work, and when you're supposed to be playing, play. It's a weird tightrope you're walking but it's only when you get your priorities mixed up that things fall apart."