The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.
Walt Disney

I've been working for myself as a writer for about a few months now. I work from home. It's just my screen and me, all day. Every day. It's hard. It is.

On one side I have my work and on the other a toddler to look on to. Mommy guilt is the real deal.

Like you have to do something but your kid needs you too. Balance.

I've read lots of self-help books that highlight ultra-successful people's morning and daily routines just to get a slight motivation and all that because mine doesn't look anything like that.

Here's the first thing you need to understand, Goals are for losers. I don't have goals. Goals are inherently temporary, it sucks when you're working towards them, and you feel like a failure the whole time. I don't have goals.

What I do have are systems. After reading great books like Atomic Habits (James Clear) and How To Fail At Almost Everything and Still Win Big (Scott Adams), I've discovered systems are 1000x better than goals. You accomplish a ton, and you feel great doing it.

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Whatever your routine is, just do the work. No matter what. Do a little bit of work, every day. Don't make it a goal, make a system.

I don't have goals for the day, I have systems. I write. I create content. I read books that make me smarter. I read about business, writing, sales, networking, communication, and psychology. As a result, I barely "work" and spend most of my time learning or watching TV. Then I'll write an article that's (hopefully) pretty good and make a decent amount of money. It's great.

Chase it Happily

But when there are no bosses, it's just you and the work.

And Desperation is a powerful motivator; if-I-don't-write-I-won't-be-paid is motivating.

But it's harder to stay king of the hill than it is climbing the mountain. It feels great to be working hard every day. Once you've "made it," it takes more energy to keep working. Because when you have your dream job, what else are you working for?

Managing your day as a writer, or anyone who stares at a screen alone all day, every day is hard. I regularly talk to other writers in Facebook groups, which is helpful. I read a lot of articles that learning and growing are much better than sitting in front of the TV all day.

Whatever your routine is, just do the work. No matter what. Do a little bit of work, every day. Don't make it a goal, make a system.

But That flexible schedule may not be quite as flexible as you'd like.

Do I love that working from home gives me a flexible schedule? Absolutely. I am a mom. I have a two-year-old kid. Working from home with a flexible schedule is a lifesaver.

However, I still have to make tough decisions and choose to work at times when I'd prefer (or even need) to do something else. As great as it is to have a career that can work around my daughter's schedule, we sometimes have to work around my writing. It's hard but worth it.

People are often surprised that a flexible schedule is not synonymous with "work only when you want to." Part of working from home means managing yourself.

Working from home doesn't mean you lose the sense of professionalism. It means you have to create a warm work environment to become more productive than ever. Unlike the office, a lot of distractions can surround while working at home. Your job is to get over from those distractions and give your level best to thrive in an organization.

Leonardo Da Vinci once said, "While you are alone you are entirely your own master."

When working remotely, you are more likely to spend half your time battling procrastination, distractions, or managing energy dips. If you give in to your distractions, you could wind up devoting productive time to fighting off the guilt that comes from giving in to those distractions.

When you work from home as a parent, what are some ways to handle these interruptions — or avoid them altogether? Here, I've compiled some tips I've learned:

Have a dedicated workspace

Having a dedicated workspace is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Step away from the dining room table or the comfy living room couch. You need a serious place to work that is dedicated to you and your business. Take this very seriously. You will immediately feel the difference it makes in your productivity and work when you create a designated space.

Start Work as Early as Possible

Rising before the sun is a habit shared by most successful people. In a recent poll, 80% said they wake up before 6 am on weekdays. This makes sense from a productivity standpoint - you will have fewer distractions and a close to a peaceful environment to focus on.

Believe it or not, one way to work from home productively is to dive into your to-do list as soon as you wake up. Merely starting tasks first thing in the morning before the rest of your family or your kid has woken up can be the key to making real progress.

Dedicate Mornings to High-Value Work

Work on your high-value tasks first thing in the morning- cut the planning and start doing real work when you are most active. Don't waste all that mental clarity and energy on planning what to do for the next eight hours. If you are a morning person ( which I am not, I am a night owl may be ), you can get a tonne done in the early morning hours. It pays to focus on essential tasks for the day during your morning.

A plan from yesterday makes it easier to get started right away when you get up. Kenneth Chenault, the former CEO and Chairman of American Express, once said in an interview that the last thing he does before leaving the office is to write down the top three things he needs to accomplish tomorrow. Then he uses that list to start his day the following morning.

Stay Social

Damn, I miss this the most. But  Okay, I know that with the coronavirus and flu spreading like wildfire, networking in real life may not be an option. But that does not mean you need to become a hermit.

Thanks to the advancements in technology it is easier than ever to stay social and connected with friends, colleagues and loved ones. I suggest you set up at least one zoom, portal, or other video chat call per week just to chat. Like a virtual coffee. I do this with my forum mates. It's good to learn something from such talented women around me. It is great to talk to people face to face versus just on the phone plus if they sneeze you don't have to worry about getting sick!

Have a creative outlet

Sometimes we get stuck. We lose inspiration or we get stressed out from dealing with difficult people ( like a husband ) all day, especially when we are stuck in the isolation of working from home.

When this happens, one of the best solutions is to jump into a fun hobby or creative outlet. This allows your mind to work on something creative that does not have to do with your work. This can help inspire your business ideas to take on new and fruitful directions. This can also help alleviate stress. Paint, write, read, or cook or play with your daughter or pet. Whatever you are into, take time to work on your creative side.

Set work hours

Set work hours and make sure your family understands them. When you work from home, it's only fair to schedule regular work hours — and make sure everyone knows and respects them.

Be strategic about how you use your work hours

Make sure to do your most thought-intensive work at an optimal time of day. For example, I find it works better when I try to get my writing done while the kid is asleep. I save the less taxing tasks for hours when the kid is around — administrative tasks, replying to email and other non-urgent items. That way, if I do happen to be interrupted, it's not a big deal.

A regular work schedule is still important

This is one of the things that took me the longest to come to terms with honestly.
It's something I've finally accepted, after months of working from home full time. Maybe I'm a slow learner. Or just stubborn.

All the experts tell you to keep a regular schedule, to treat working from home like a 9 to 5 job, etc. So I KNEW this one.

Freedom to set my hours, work when I wanted, and freedom from asking permission to take time off. I'm still struggling with this one honestly. You can set your hours when you work from home. You don't need permission to take time off. But you do have to determine a daily work routine and stick to it.

Productivity Will Soar if You Master Distractions

When you first start working from home full time, it's very easy to get distracted. After all, you've got all day. And all night if you need it.

It's easy to fall into the habit of taking long breaks, doing housework, calling a friend, running to the store, binge-watching Netflix, etc.

Besides, your work as manager of the household, especially if you have kids, doesn't go away when you work from home. You feel guilty sitting at your computer and working when there are dishes to be done or laundry to fold or any other work.

But to manage distractions, you have to change your mindset. You are still working. And your work is just as important as it was when you left the house to do it for someone else. It's more important.

There are no paid sick days. No one to fill in for you. Once you learn to make your work a priority during the hours that you decide are your work hours, and to save the household chores for after quitting time, your productivity will soar again.

There's No One to Tell You What to Do

This can be good and bad, depending on the day. For those who are more disciplined than I am, this means you get to work on the projects you want to work on.

For me, with no one telling me what to do, it means I often go down the rabbit hole researching something. I can spend hours reading and taking notes, thinking of posts I could write. I have to force myself to stay on track and get the work I'm getting paid for done first. I've also found I can easily spend a whole day binge-watching on Netflix.

When you are working from home, there shouldn't be words like 'vacation' or 'holidays' in your dictionary.

Never wish for easier work. Always wish for challenging and uphill tasks that can unleash your potential.

Sometimes you may feel lost, sometimes you may lack visions, and sometimes you may lack motivation. All you need to do is keep moving.

It Is All About Choices

I know I had to do some reassessment recently. I was constantly complaining that I didn't have enough hours in the day and I believed that I couldn't write because I was tired or there were too many distractions coming at me.

But time is the only level playing field. We each have the same amount of time in the day.
It's how we CHOOSE to use that time that can wreak havoc on our productivity and our mindset.

And I'm kicking myself now for the time I've wasted over the last few years on being unproductive and in some cases ungrateful. What helped me turn things around recently was gratitude.

A friend of mine pushed me to read this book called The Magic and because of that, I am grateful.

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I had to once again be grateful for the opportunity to work from home, it's a gift that not everyone can have.

And as my gratitude increased, guess what?

My productivity increased too.

And as my productivity continues to increase, I find that I have more free time, which I can CHOOSE to use however I like.

And that ability to choose how I spend my time is what makes working from home a dream life.

Trust me. Working from home feels much better than sleeping in your cubicle.
And after all, everything is better in your pajamas ❤️

People often remark that I’m pretty lucky. Luck is only important in so far as getting the change to sell yourself at the right moment. After that, you’ve got to have talent and know how to use it.
Frank Sinatra

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