The title of today’s post was suggested by Word Press as a daily prompt, and it touched a nerve. Especially in light of my earlier post about working at home. Experience has taught me the value of using time wisely. Practicing veterinary medicine in a busy animal hospital never rewarded wasting time. In fact, wasting even a few minutes during a day came with a high price later when the pace changed from slow and casual to a race to outrun a stampede. The empty seats in the waiting room would quickly and without warning transform into a roomful of clients with various pets. And each one deserved to be treated as though no one else was on the premises at the time. In that environment, wasting time was really not an option.
However, operating a small business as the sole proprietor and working from home presents a drastic contrast. Wasting days and wasting nights can become the new kind of stampede. The difference is this stampede of days flying past is in slow motion. Deceptively slow, and oh so easy to go unnoticed.
I am learning that to fulfill my wish to be relevant and successful in this new paradigm will demand a new kind of self-discipline. The question becomes how to be intentional about using time wisely and how to avoid wasting days or nights. Here are some steps I am taking to help me use every day and night wisely.
1. Settle the “why?” for working from home to build a small business.
Without a clear understanding of the true motivation for your work, enthusiasm will quickly disappear. My, “why?” is the subject of a recent post on docsology.net
2. Write a list of priorities.
By this I mean “priorities for living”. Define, in writing, what are your personal priorities. Write them down in a descending list beginning with your # 1 priority and follow it with others in order of their importance to you. Take some time and do some soul-searching to make your list. Then your priorities list will alleviate much of the stress of even daily decisions.
3. Commit to your long-term goal.
Yes, even at my age, I have a long-term goal because having one or more keeps life interesting and challenging. The younger you are, of course, the more choices you have as possible goals. But, be careful, because with a really long trajectory comes the potential to stray “way off the mark” by making a decision too quickly. Older folks, like myself, have experienced the joy of reaching some long-term goals and the agony of missed ones. But, don’t worry, there is value to be found in failure as well as in success.
4. Dress and act the way you would in any other job on days you plan to work from home.
Not my original idea. I read the idea somewhere and it works for me because it’s a constant reminder that I am serious about performing good work in a professional way.
5. Organize your study, office or work area to maximize efficiency.
Herein lies my biggest challenge. But I do love it when it happens. Just remember, what looks unorganized to one person looks and functions as organized to another. As long as you can get to your keyboard, mail, research papers or whatever you need to do your work quickly, you are organized in my estimation.
6. Commit to a large investment of time for learning new skills.
Even if you remain in a field where you have experience, the need to learn never stops. But, if you venture into something totally new to you, educating yourself is obviously critical to your success. Chances are good you can find an organization which provides outstanding online educational programs and personalized support for whatever field you want to pursue. Then, make a commitment to invest a significant amount of time and effort to acquire the knowledge and skills you will need.
7. Set a minimum amount of time during each week for concentrated work.
Working from home will require this commitment at the beginning. The good news is you get to decide what that minimum of time will be, and you can be flexible in how you are going to carry out working those hours.
8. Verify the hours spent working each day.
There are copious Apps out there to help you keep up with your work time.To accomplish this one I found an app for my smart phone which reminds me to get up and exercise at preset intervals. That was important to me because my new career requires a lot of time sitting at a computer. Too much sitting every day opens the door to a lot of bad health conditions, so take that into consideration if you work from home. Mine is set for 60 minutes, and I record working hours by using it.
9. Commit to practicing the new skill as you learn more.
If you have decided to become a volunteer firefighter, set some small fires in your backyard and quickly hose them out. Then go ahead and consider yourself a volunteer firefighter.I know that may sound a little silly, but hopefully you get the idea behind the example.
10. Reward yourself with plenty of time to relax and to enjoy life.
Lots of examples would fit here, but I will mention one in particular. My wife Connie lives in this house, too. When she needs a few minutes to talk, my priorities remind
me that she is not interrupting my work day. Any time spent with her is a good investment.
Fishing and wildlife photography help me relax, so they too have a place somewhere on my list of priorities. Be sure you include fun things on your own list of priorities.
I’d love to read your ideas on this subject, too!