Summer should be about enjoying yourself, getting outside and hopefully getting away from it all. Of course, most of us don’t have the luxury of avoiding work all summer long. Sometimes, we’ve got to roll up our sleeves and get busy, but it’s not always easy if you work from home. I’m sure just about any home or Internet business owner can relate.
For me, the distractions are the nice weather, having the kids home from school and the desire to just be out camping or even sipping drinks with friends on a patio. One of my best friends is a teacher with summers off and she’s always trying to corrupt me! Even though summer can be great fun, I have learned to set my limits and turn off the distractions as needed.
Here are some tips for you…
• Set your work hours: It’s business organization skills 101, but it’s an important aspect to staying focused. If you set your work hours, not only will you know what’s expected from you, but so will your friends and family. Take out the calendar and figure out what will work for you from week to week, so there is no confusion for anyone, including yourself.
• Reduce your work hours: If you work 5 days a week the rest of the year, you might consider whittling down to 3 or 4 in summer. Even if we have the best intentions, we’ll always find ourselves looking out at the beautiful sunshine, thinking about how we would like to be out there too. Give yourself a break and just don’t work so much. You can achieve this by cutting down your schedule (for example, don’t blog as much), doing a lot of work ahead of time or hiring some help.
• Plan your work week, in detail: Now, don’t overload yourself with tasks, but make a list of items that absolutely need to get done and put them on your schedule. If you know what you need to do each time, you can motor through those items each day and perhaps you can even knock off early if you complete your list quickly. (need a tool to help you keep track, try out TeamworkPM it’s my favorite task and project management tool)
• Plan your vacations: Just like you should plan your work hours, plan those vacations ahead of time. Knowing when you’ll be in town and out of town, will help you plan your work better and get all the necessary tasks done before you leave.
• Try multiple short trips away from home: While there shouldn’t be anything stopping you from taking an extended vacation, if it does cause you stress or you don’t have the help you need while you’re gone, try a few short trips. A few days away here and there can be a whole lot of fun and can reduce the amount of stress when you return to your computer.
• Limit social media to down time: While I see the value of social media for business, I think most of us waste a heck of a lot of time on Facebook, Twitter and the like. I’d challenge you to keep your social media usage outside of your work hours and leave it for any downtime you have. Perhaps, while you’re relaxing on the couch in the evening or just soaking up some sun by the pool. Reserve your work time for…well…work.
• If you have kids, get them busy: There’s no reason kids shouldn’t have fun all summer long. Get them involved in summer activities in your local area. Whether it’s summer camp or activities at the local library, there’s always plenty to do. And for goodness sakes, send them OUTSIDE to play often. If your kids are young and need supervision, consider organized activities or swapping babysitting favors with your neighbor.
• Again, if you have kids, get them involved in the business or their own business: If you can’t always get the kids to entertain themselves, get them busy working with you or on their own business. There are plenty of business tasks that children can handle and what they do will certainly depend on their age and abilities. We’ll be talking more about summer business ideas for kids in a future post too.
• Turn the phone off: If you don’t have to answer calls from clients or customers, turn your phone off while you’re working. That means no text messages or personal emails too. If you do have a business line that you need to answer, don’t give that number to your friend who keeps trying to get you to head to the beach or a patio to sip margaritas.
• Outsource more: It’s been mentioned before and I’ll have plenty more tips in future posts, but you’ve got to help for your business. It doesn’t mean you have to hire employees or people need to come to your house, but running everything yourself means being chained to your business all the time. At minimum, you should have a virtual assistant that can help you with administrative tasks, keep you organized and can handle most of your business communication.
Keep the fun in summer, but don’t sacrifice fun for productivity. If you’re organized and focused, you can most certainly have both. Now, I admit, being focused can’t come without a whole lot of motivation and that’s what we’ll be talking about next. Talk to you again soon.