It’s week 3 of structure, work, and schedule as I make them, and it’s still weird! There’s no regularity or rhythm unless I set it up. It can be uncomfortable. From school to most traditional jobs we are told by others what to do and by when. When you strike out on your own, all of that changes.
It’s easy to feel insecure when taking a risk, even if it’s a calculated one. When you leave the confines of a regular job, the world opens, full of possibilities. It’s exciting, but invites second-guessing. Will anyone hire me? Am I being productive enough? Will I be able to support myself doing this? Will I fail? What mistakes will I make?
The answer to all of these questions is shrug. No one knows. But with resources, ideas, self-advocacy and hard work, the odds are in our favor. If you’re anxious, that’s fine! There are many ways to motivate and coach yourself:
Give yourself time: I envisioned slamming through tasks as soon as I finished my day job, but give yourself time to adjust. If it’s your first experience working on your own, it will take getting used to. Besides, many decisions you need to make take time and consideration. A big one for me is what to name my business. I can’t build my website until I choose a name.
Create a schedule: One morning I slept until 10:00 because I didn’t have plans and I wasn’t sure what to do. That day was enough. I didn’t like the lethargic or aimless feelings that came with it. Create a schedule of what you will work on the day before, or in the morning when you wake up. Keep a list of To Do’s, and choose several to complete each day. Even if you change plans, the it helps to start with goals for the day.
Be forgiving: When your business and livelihood is solely dependent on you, it’s a lot of pressure. Be kind to yourself. Just like in school or a traditional job, you may not be able to get everything done that you plan. Allow yourself to enjoy the perks of a flexible schedule by running errands during the day, or reading books. You don’t have to work 8 hours every day anymore. Maybe you can be just as productive in four! Either way, go easy on yourself as you adjust to your new situation.
Get out of your damn house: Try to leave your house every day, even if just to walk to the mailbox. Go outside, to the gym, to a coffee shop, the library, anywhere to shake you out of the sluggishness that can come from being in one place all the time (especially if it’s your home).
Find an accountability partner/work buddy: If the isolation of working for yourself bothers you, find a partner. Do you have any friends that are students? Any friends that work a home? Get together at your house, a cafe, the library. Structure these meet ups like a working brunch, with social and work time (See Bullish Life: How to Hold a Ladies’ Working Brunch). Sometimes all it takes is someone working beside you to get your mind to focus.
Keep on keepin’ on!