As CEO of F+B Therapy and a consultant in food and beverage I have been self employed for a decade. Previous to F+B I was also self employed for another five years working in the film industry as a writer and director. Self Discipline has always been a point of strength for me when it comes to work. Lou Gehrig was my favorite baseball player of all time and Hemingway one of my favorite writers. Hemingway famously would start his day by sharpening 20 pencils before he would start writing and would not stop until each pencil was down to the nub.
These are aspirational figures and not all of us are used to being so self motivated so I decided to put together some tips to help you get into the grove at home.
Noise Cancelling Headphones. This was not something I had for many years however once my son was born, these became absolutely priceless to allow me to focus and engage in deep thought without constant interruption. Also, they work both ways; your family doesn’t want to hear what your listening to either…
Create a Schedule for Yourself – When I was working as a writer and director in Los Angeles, this was key. I actually took a part time job just so I would know what day it was and have a reason to leave the house. Writing does not require you to bath or dress so I needed that extra motivation to hold myself to another standard. Work schedule is important however, family schedule is also important so your family knows when to leave you alone and when you will be available to them.
Create a Space – Even if it is just a small patch of desk – keep it sacred and keep it orderly. You want to set up the space to encourage your return and not create more overwhelm. The last thing we need is more obstacles or reasons not to do something. When I lived in LA, I had a 500 sqft apt. so there wasn’t much room. In this dwelling I always held my desk as sacred space and I wrote 7 screenplays in just 4 years with multiple rewrites while having two jobs. After starting F+B I gave myself the gift of an office space 8 years ago and it was a great revelation. It allowed me to have more focus, expand my business and host clients. In the meantime, even just a desk in a private area is a great start.
Goals – Set goals for the day, goals for the week and an overarching goal for a month or quarter. Daily goals are key to forcing you to get up, take note of the day of the week and get something done. Even if it is only one or two things each day it will get you moving and get you motivated. Some movement is better than no movement. Set weekly goals so you feel like you earned your weekend and a reason to celebrate when you accomplish them. Quarterly goals to maintain that carrot of glimmering hope at the end of each season that something is going to be accomplished and the next stage can begin.
Give yourself a break – When you are at home there is no one saying you can’t collect overtime and you may want to avoid rejoining your family on some days. Be that as it may, it is important to create limits on your work day and allow your subconscious to do some of the work. I had a friend that could not turn it off and he would start on his e-mail when he woke up at 6am and continued to work well into the night. This is not sustainable and will not allow your mind and spirit the time it needs to recuperate. You need to create a separation between your work life and home life even if they are in the same room. A folding desk helps so you can close it when you are done. Also, scheduling bike rides or a swim or even time staring off into space and listening to a book on tape can be relaxing. These are all important to keeping your energy up and keeping your mind creative.
There are a ton more little things to do to make it easier and you’ll find them along the way. Please feel free to share ideas or methods that have helped you in the comments box. I’ll be the first to add one more down there….