Most folks are indoctrinated into the world of work through the educational system. We have teachers and bells and schedules to follow. There are consequences for being late or for not showing up at all. We are told what to do (and what not to do) on an hourly basis. There are no surprises and not much room for personal interpretation. There is some room to plan your day, but not a lot; someone has done most of the planning for you and there’s little left for you to do but march along in step.
Moving from a school environment to a brick-and-mortar business environment doesn’t require a huge leap. We trade teachers for bosses, bells for time clocks, and there are still consequences for being late or for not showing up at all. Our bosses tell us what to do on a daily basis, and while there may be a little more room for personal interpretation, for most folks, there’s precious little room to plan your day. For the vast majority, the long march continues.
In both an educational environment and a traditional work environment there are certain expectations that must be met; it is understood that there are projects that must be accomplished and dates by which they must be accomplished in order for us to continue in our accustomed capacity. But that all changes when we make the decision to become our own boss and work from home.
Being your own boss and working from home is liberating. The freedom to work when you want, where you want is intoxicating. No longer is there a time clock, a boss, or an inflexible deadline. Good bye alarm clock, I’ll be working poolside with my laptop, chaise longue and umbrella drink!
The problem with that is that unless you plan your day and follow your plan, at some point you’re going to wake up with a hang-over, wondering where the time has gone, convinced that working from home is overrated, and looking through the help wanted ads for your next chance at enslavement.
Having a plan is imperative to success. If you start your day without a plan, you’ll find that your time is spent responding to the demands of the day, rather than accomplishing your goals. As Jim Rohn said, “Run your day or your day runs you.”
The best course of action for a productive day is to sit down the night before and put down on paper what you want to accomplish the next day. Be specific. Instead of jotting down “work leads,” try “make 100 dials,” or “have 5 meaningful conversations with potential clients.” And stick to it. Instead of “work on autoresponder,” try “create 20-letter email series for glow worm campaign.”
By planning your day the night before and then sleeping on it, not only are you freeing yourself from worry that you’ll forget something important, but you’re also allowing your personal assistants (your subconscious and unconscious) to work on your list overnight. They’ll be busy figuring the best and most creative ways to follow your plan while you sleep. You’ll wake refreshed, energized, and ready to create a great day that will move you another step closer to your goals.
As a marketer and a homeschooling mom, I learned early on that if I didn’t have a strict plan that I followed religiously, I would fail. With a house full of noisy, creative people, it’s too easy to get distracted by every day living and watch my day evaporate into nothing accomplished. My “rule” is blog first, ask questions later. This means no email, no news, no conversation with anyone about anything until I’ve written. Period.
I plan time for other marketing activities, for study, etc., as it relates to my work day, and I plan my time off, too. (All work and no play is counterproductive.) I’ve learned through trial and error that if I don’t finish my day on paper before I start it, and if I don’t follow the plan that I’ve created for my day, I spend the day chasing my tail. IF I have a productive day, it’s a miracle. And if I allow enough of those unplanned “daze” to go by, I end up so far behind schedule that it’s as if the boulder that I’ve been rolling up the hill flattened me on it’s way back down to the bottom. I’ve got to start building momentum from scratch, and it starts with a plan. It’s as simple as that.
Whether you work from home or not, if you have something that you want to accomplish, the key to success is this: Plan your day, follow your plan, or plan to fail. And if you’re new to working from home and you’re building a home based business, planning your day and following your plan is a pain-free, fail-safe recipe for building the life of your dreams, one day at a time.