When you left that corporate job and jumped into the world of self-employment you were probably following a passion or calling.
However, what you may not have realized at the time was just how integrated your professional and personal life would become. Or the level of self-discipline, motivation, and management it would take to stay on course with your goals.
In looking over my last couple of years in this entrepreneurial world, I’ve compiled some tips that have helped me keep my focus and my sanity!
- Create goal index cards. I learned this from Christine Comaford, author of Rules for Renegades. Using a stack of colored index cards, create these categories: career, wealth building, learning/development, health, relationships, community/charity, and fun. For each category create 1-2 goals. Write your goals in active present-tense language, and include an end date. Keep those cards in front of you, and read through them once or twice daily.
- Establish a workout routine. Your body, mind, and spirit need some kind of scheduled physical activity. Many times when we’re under deadlines or just feel too busy, a workout routine is the first thing to go. You don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to create this habit – work toward scheduling into your life 30 minutes of exercise four times a week. Your creativity and productivity will soar!
- Shut down the computer. I admit this can be a tough one, but make an effort to actually shut down your computer at the end of the workday. It signals to your mind that it’s time to relax. If it’s difficult to do this during the week, at least shut it down on the weekends. This also includes your mobile phone applications!
- Volunteer. It took me awhile to find, but my volunteer passion is walking dogs at the local humane society. Having a place to give back clears my mind and helps me to remember what’s really important in life. If you’re not sure of your volunteer passion, try http://www.volunteermatch.org.
- Remove temptations from the kitchen. My office is right next to the kitchen, so guess what? Whenever I’m stressed, bored, or procrastination sets in, I head to the kitchen and end up eating junk food. Stock the kitchen with as many fruits, vegetables, and healthy snacks as possible while reducing the chips, cookies, and other junk. You may not eliminate every temptation, but you can at least improve your odds. Pair this with a regular workout routine. One feeds the other – so when you’re practicing healthy exercise habits, you may find the motivation to reduce unhealthy snacking.
- Find valuable learning opportunities. Are you continuing to learn new skills, whether for professional or personal development? Learning forges new pathways both in the mind and in your life. Educational opportunities don’t have to be expensive. Examples include taking a class at a local community center, reading a new book, or finding a mentor. For the best balance, mix professional and personal opportunities.
- Find collaboration partners. Collaboration partners have helped me stay focused and motivated by creating a much-needed sense of community. Consider both professional and personal collaboration partners, such as an exercise partner, a product creation partner, or an accountability partner. Find people that inspire you to remain committed to your goals.
You’ll notice these tips are a mix of both the professional and personal, reflecting the life of a solo professional. Implementing just one or two of these ideas will help you remain physically and mentally fueled!