17 November 2008, by A. Cedilla
You made it.You escaped the rat race, got off the treadmill, and now you’re self-employed.
You survey your little kingdom — your very own office, maybe in a large closet, an extra bedroom, or a neat little corner of the living room, one all your own. Due to your planning and networking, you even have work coming in, and the stomach-clenching fear about making a living on your own is gone.
Working from home is pure heaven. You get a month when you become an instant rock star and everyone wants your services. After putting in a few — well, more than a few– late nights, you meet all the deadlines and collapse in relieved, exhilarated exhaustion”I did it! I”m doing it! I can do it!”
You decide to relax and give yourself a few days off. After everything you’ve accomplished, you’ve earned it, right?
As it turns out, the following week you find yourself off to a bad start trying to make-up for your time off. Before you know it, you find that you’re lagging further and further behind. You think resentfully that when you were working for someone else, at least at the end of the day you were finished. What didn’t get done just…didn’t get done.
It’s time to take heart and set a few simple strategies in place that will keep you in control of your time…and your sanity.
Do NOT Accept Any New Work This Week.
Take a good look at what you have on your plate now, and carefully plan the week ahead. Your aim is to regain control. Tell new clients that you are fully booked, but you can put them on a priority list to be phoned next week. This will not only allow you to catch up, but make your services appear highly in demand. Plus, any client who is willing to wait means he really want your service. That’s an ego-boosting charge right there.
Build In Time For Leisure and Rest.
Not only for this week, but EVERY week. Every DAY, in fact. A half hour walk; a twenty-minute break in the sun with a cup of coffee and SPF 30 sunblock; a quick swim or a movie outing with friends – all these activities can recharge your batteries. You will find that you can achieve far more when you are rested and alert. (How many times have you just sat and stared at the computer screen with that funny floaty feeling because you were over-tired?)
Tackle Urgent Tasks First.
If your house is burning, you don’t take the time to iron the curtains, right? If you’re behind, your first step must be to contact all clients and arrange firm new deadlines. Make sure you base these new deadlines on what you can achieve, not what you hope you can achieve. If any existing client needs your services or products urgently, bump them up the queue.
Prioritize Remaining Tasks.
Scrap anything that is not essential, and delegate what you can. Consider involving family, business associates or friends to handle some tasks. On the other hand, don’t hand over tasks that only you — as the principal of the business — can carry out . Your reputation is important. Take care of it.
Set Achievable Daily Goals.
If you finish a task ahead of schedule, begin the next… but adhere to a definite cut-off time each day. What you are doing this week is establishing a system that will continue to work for you.
Getting out of trouble when your business is in overload is just like getting out of debt. Your business rating is similar to your credit rating – nothing can be gained by denying that a problem exists. Nothing can be gained by slipping deeper into the mire. Call a halt; contact the main players; set workable strategies in place and you can quickly regroup.
Before you know it, your home business dream will be on track once more.
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