Just because you are not suiting up and tackling miles and miles of rush hour traffic every day to arrive at your corporate job, it does not mean that you can’t be just as or more productive as an entrepreneur at your home office. Even though statistics show, according to Gallup, that entrepreneurship is now in decline for the first time since the U.S. government started measuring it, we have the power to ensure that we do NOT allow ourselves to be included in these future stats.
I have had the fortune of working out of my home office for quite a few years. And although I am very disciplined about avoiding most of my house duties or other distractions during work hours, I have had to learn quite a few things that have allowed me to not only do more work in less time, but to become better focused so that I produce more quality work with less effort.
So, what can you do to improve your workplace efficiency as an entrepreneur? Here are five tips for everyone from home office entrepreneurs to corporate employees and high level executives.
- Make Sure Your Job is Not a Job – Confucius says, Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. It is hard to convince someone who does not enjoy their job of this point or even those people who find their job just “okay”, how rewarding and exhilarating a great career can be for your soul. Even though I have days that are a bit difficult or that I face challenges that fuel my inability to sleep now and then, I am spending my days pursuing a career that I would do regardless of the paycheck I receive. I love and am sincerely passionate about what I do and feel blessed that I was able to discover this path at such a late point in my life. If you do not love your job, you may want to consider this same path. I was counseled to “Do something you love and the money will follow” which spurred me to leave a good paying job. I was terrified to make this change, but am forever grateful now for the courage and wisdom to follow that advice.
- Have a Clear Vision and Remain Focused – Regardless if you work for a company or are your own boss, it is easy for us to have numerous “Squirrel Moments” throughout the day or week. As an entrepreneur, I have found it to be extremely helpful to create a perfect customer “Avatar” to keep my marketing messages clear and to continue providing relevant value to my current customer base. My Avatar has a name, face and a list of details about her needs and goals that help me to remain focused on her needs, not mine.
- Create Systems and Processes to Work More Efficiently – I am a pro at creating systems that allow me to duplicate my efforts in an ongoing manner. I use email signatures for responses that may have to be made more than once. With one easy click, I can pull in a complete, detailed email and customize it as needed for the current recipient. I also use Technology that allows me to generate automated communications, content delivery and shopping cart functionality on a 24/7 basis. To prove this point, take a moment to read this article about 9 Things You Can Do To in 15 Minutes to Improve Work/Life Balance.
- Create a Team to Accomplish Your Dream – I am living proof of this point because it was my need to build a thriving business in the mortgage industry, during a time when the industry was saturated, that led me to create our first chapter of the Dynamic Professional Women’s Network. I wanted to build a powerful team of other professionals who offered complimentary services to my existing and future clients. I formed strong partnerships with these women and eventually this team expanded to other business professionals whom I could also support and would support me in return in a variety of ways.
- Accountability Trumps Them All – If you have a boss or a supervisor you may have annual reviews that help keep you on track. If you are planning a large party at your house for new friends, you will most-likely take the time to clean a bit more thoroughly or even re-paint the walls in an attempt to impress your guests. As an entrepreneur you may have customer deadlines that you need to meet, but you generally don’t have anyone to help you keep your business on track and keep you accountable to your business growth goals. The best thing you can do for yourself, as an entrepreneur, is to find the right coach and stay committed to that effort for at least 6 months. I look back at the years when I did not follow this tip and I see nothing but busyness with no business growth. The times I worked with a coach were the times when great things happened. Unfortunately, I often fell into the mindset that I did not need a coach anymore, which always ended badly. Now I learned that the moment I think I don’t need a coach anymore is the time I need to find a new coach who will push me and challenge me to get to that next level.
Although workplace efficiency can mean different things to different people, one point you don’t need a degree to figure out is that if we can all learn how to become better focused to produce more quality work with less effort, we will have more free time to spend on a leisure activity, a hobby or serving in the community.