When you work from home or for yourself in business, then its really important to create a routine for your workday. Creating a routine means that you can stay focussed on the task at hand, not get distracted, be consistent and make the most of the hours in the day. Without routine, it can be too easy to get distracted from your work by other things and then your business suffers.
When you start out working for yourself on your online business, there is a lot of discipline required to change from working for someone, to working for yourself. This is where routine is key.
Creating a routine must be done to suit you, your situation and your business.
YOU — some people are early risers and focus well in the morning. For these people, I would recommend prioritising your key heavy workload hours to be done in the morning and push the lighter work tasks, which need less brain-power, to the afternoon. Others are slow to rise and take a while to warm into the day. For these people, focussing solid work time may be in the afternoon or evening. It’s all dependant on what type of person you are so set it up to suit YOU.
YOUR SITUATION — there are other factors surrounding you which may impact on your routines set up. Family, commitments, pets etc can all impact into your daily routine, especially if you work from a home office situation. This is very evident in the last year with many people now working from home. So, having flexibility when setting your routine is key and allowing time for the other factors outside your business will ensure that you still have focussed time in your business. Being disciplined is important here, so set up your routine with buy-in from those around you, like your partner, for example. If you discuss and agree the routine with him/her in the first place then they will have buy-in to the schedule and it will make it easier for you to stick to as long as they support you.
YOUR BUSINESS — once we take the people factors described above, into account, we then need to consider the business type and location. A good example of this is me; I am based in New Zealand and work with freelancers and contractors in the USA and Europe. This means that my early morning work hours are the last opportunity to touch base with these people overseas before their night time. So, I focus my time early in my work day on replying to emails and doing meetings online with them. If I don’t do this, then I have to wait a full day before I get a reply to an email or query. As you can imagine, if I didn’t do this, then I would be taking 10 work days to back and forth 10 emails! That would have a huge impact on the progression and growth of my business. So, adapt the routine to suit what your business is and where you are located on the planet.
Some other things to consider are:
- Ensure to give yourself own time to do fitness, recreation, eating well in your routine because if your body and mind aren't well maintained then your business will suffer. Plan these into your schedule and stick to them.
- If you find yourself tired and not focussed then its sometimes better to take a 20min power-nap or walk outside to get some fresh air, than try to slog through the work. You will find you’re refreshed after this and the work will then begin to flow again.
- Drink plenty of water, limit coffee and eat good food during the day as this will help you stay focussed and better enable you to stay to your routine.
- I suggest that you note your routine down on paper and place this somewhere prominent or use a digital calendar to block out your daily routine. Make it visible so you stick to it.
How to set up the routine?
If you want to keep it very simple then I would suggest using Microsoft Word or similar program and simply typing out a daily routine with one of their free templates. You can then save, print and modify this as you please.
Looking for a more connected approach? Then I would suggest a calendar program like Outlook, which allows you to block out time slots for specific tasks and create these to reoccur so its easy to create a daily routine and auto-reoccur it across every day of the week, every week. Then when you adjust the sequence, it auto-changes it in every other day and week. The other benefit of this method is that it provides you with pop up reminder notifications to keep you on track and it works across devices so you can mirror it on your phone and tablet.
Working with a team, then your routine may need to include sections where you’re working with the team, be it video calls, meetings or phone calls. For this style of routine, you may wish to use a service like Monday.com which seamlessly connects teams, tasks and routine across multiple users and has a full suite of features to allow you to set it up in the best way for your business.
In conclusion, the key thing to any routine is setting it up and actually following it. You may not get it right the first try, but stick with it and adjust it as you go or things change as you will find it a very valuable tool to being successful in your online business, or any business, for that matter.
If you found the above information useful, then visit our free resource website at www.emilyandblair.com (launching April 2021) for a vast library of likeminded guides, checklists and content devoted to online businesses.