It sounds like the dream, and for many it is (myself included). However, it is not as easy as many would make you believe. It takes skill to be an entrepreneur, so how do you set strict deadlines in your pajamas or avoid procrastination? Taking out a work routine or commute can mean you lose touch with your work and home life balance, seeing the lines blurred making it difficult to maintain productivity unless you stay on top of it all.
A virtual business can be incredibly freeing, flexible and rewarding but it is still just as much hard work and needs potentially more discipline to be successful. So here are 3 actionable ways you can stay productive as a virtual business owner.
Real organization. You need to balance your accounts, clients, home life, meetings, employees AND your own lifestyle whether that includes children, pets, friends, hobbies and commitments from your own home. Making sure you don’t drop one of these is important so real organization keeps you productive and always working on something that will benefit an area of your life. How do you do this?
- Buy a wall calendar – When you have everything out in front of you, it makes it easier to track and stay in the forefront of your mind. I opted for a yearly calendar but you could do it by month.
- Set phone reminders – Set an alarm or reminder 10-15 minutes before small events, 1 day and then several hours before large events to remember. That way you are always prepared and don’t get that sinking “what have I forgotten?” feeling.
- Get a pocket diary – Carry a pocket diary with you in your purse, bag or pocket, that way when you see someone on the go and make a plan, you will have your diary and details with you. It’s also an excellent place to temporarily store business cards while networking.
Everyone talks about the importance of goal setting and it makes a huge difference for entrepreneurs to understand what they want and how to get there. Planning these goals in advance ensures you can take the most efficient route to meeting your goals, particularly when, as a business owner you will often be trying to achieve more than one thing at a time. Make sure you have:
- A daily list of 2-3 things you DEFINITELY want to achieve before you go to bed and 2-3 things you would LIKE to achieve. It helps prioritize!
- Set weekly and monthly performance goals to boost productivity and incentivize them, giving yourself rewards if you meet them. Just like you would at work! They don’t have to be financial, perhaps a lie in or morning off would be incentive enough.
- Think long-term. It is important to understand where your business is going in the next few years, plan it out and ensure you are always working with this focus on the back of your mind.
The downside to being a virtual entrepreneur is that you are often snacking and eating poorly or, on the other end of the spectrum, wasting your lunchtime cooking a proper meal. You wouldn’t whip out the frying pan at work, so don’t do it at home. That being said, for long days and extensive hours, which is the norm for more entrepreneurs, proper nutrition is essential to health and to avoid burnout. Don’t lose precious work time by cooking, instead facilitate a productive and nourished day by:
- Spending an afternoon preparing and pre-cooking your breakfast or lunch for the week so that you can reheat or grab and go. This creates decent food and the perfect working lunch, which doesn’t cost the amount of time, money and effort of going to the shops.
Lastly get out of the 9-5 mindset. As a virtual business owner, you are more flexible and means if you want to lie in until 10am and finish work at 11pm you can! Don’t allow the mental barrier of a traditional work day stop you from being productive whenever you want to. Just remember to take short breaks and get your exercise in for the day too, it really helps!