When you’re living the laptop lifestyle, it’s like living in a dream. Sometimes you have to pinch yourself to see if this fabulous life is really real!
But you’re also going to have times when you have to pinch yourself to get back to work!
That’s because it’s really easy to play when you have no boss hanging over your head, no set work hours, and nothing to curtail your freedom.
How do you stay focused on work?
Schedule Your Tasks the Night Before
Most millionaires schedule their work the night before. That doesn’t mean to worry about the next day. In fact, you should be able to sleep easier knowing that the most important things are planned.
If you can’t relax because of too many things to do, try making two lists: one for yourself to do, and the other for the universe to arrange for you.
Or, try this variation. Write down everything you have to do on one list, everything that’s pressing on your mind on a second list, and everything that you have to remember in general on a third list. That way, you won’t forget anything, general or specific.
Have a Clear Morning Routine
Whether you look forward to that first cup of coffee, walk on the beach, or meditation, having a consistent, enjoyable morning routine is key to getting your day started on the right foot.
Depending where in the world Michael and I are currently staying, I can change my morning routine – and thus the general tone of the day – to reflect the current locality.
For example, if I’m staying in Germany in the winter, I can start with a soak in a hot tub or a hot shower. If I’m staying in the Bahamas in the summer, a walk on the beach or sipping coffee outside works well.
I then make a list of 10 things I’m grateful for, and my income is always one of them. At that point, it’s quite easy to slip into my work.
Put Aside the First Four Hours to Work in Peace
I schedule the first four hours of my day for the most important tasks. Whether you want your day to start at 11:00 am or 4:00 am, start at a time when you’ve got good energy.
Make some rules for yourself to protect this time. Imagine that you’re working inside a protective blue bubble; set your phone to vibrate and don’t take non-emergency calls; or put on some study music or whatever stimulates your mind without distracting it.
Some people insist on having a cup of coffee or a glass of water on their desk while they work. Whatever makes you feel like you’re “at the office” will work for you.
Consider Standing for Your First Four Hours
Standing desks are becoming popular. You can create a makeshift standing desk by reading, typing, or phoning while standing at the kitchen counter.
Sitting can make you feel sedentary and over the long run, can cause back pain. Standing is a more active and energized way to start your day.
Put Time Limits on Your Tasks
This takes a little self-discipline, but the rewards are enormous.
For your life to be smooth and easy, your work must flow harmoniously.
Write down the time you’ll be finished with each of your most important tasks. And stick to it. Set a timer to remind you before your time is up so that you can speed it up if you’re falling behind.
This exercise makes you an expert at evaluating how much time various activities will take. It will also help you see when you’re undermining yourself by being too perfectionistic in some areas and completely avoiding others. Over time, this will get easier and easier.
Evaluate Your Energy and Match It with Your Tasks
Some tasks take all your focus and concentration. Others can be done on autopilot while you’re listening to a book on Audible.
Figure out when your low-energy times of day are and schedule your easiest tasks during that time. Schedule your most demanding tasks at the time you have the most energy.
Take Full Advantage of Your Breaks
Schedule time for breaks and take them. You might want to take a 3-hour lunch so you can ride a bike to the top of a mountain and take photos. Or, you might just want to sit in the sun for five minutes and collect your thoughts.
You know how you always get your best ideas in the shower? Elicit that kind of creative solution-generating power by giving your brain breaks on a consistent basis.
Track All Your Work
Tracking your work not only makes you feel more accountable, but will give you a crystal clear picture of how you normally spend your time.
For example, say you mean to blog for one hour per day, make marketing calls and place ads for an hour a day, and work on creating an e-course for two hours per day.
Having that tracking information at your fingertips will help you make scheduling adjustments. Or, you might find that you did a great job.
Prepare Your Second Shift
Don’t be afraid to break from your work long enough to get completely refreshed for your second shift, such as hosting a Webinar in the evening.
Here are some tips for replenishment:
- Take a walk.
- Go to an aerobics class.
- Take a nap.
- Review your notes for the event before taking a nap.
- Drink a superfood smoothie.
- Read or listen to something spiritual.
So there you have it! Those are my favorite ways of staying on track.
Now, it’s time for me to ask you … how do you stay focused when you don’t have set work hours?
And if you have any tips for staying productive in general, please feel free to share them, too.