If you run your own PT business, you most likely do some (or all) of your admin from home. Whether you train your clients in a park, in your backyard, or a gym – being your own boss doesn’t always mean you have a dedicated office.
Here are 7 Strategies to help you maintain sanity while working from home.
Part 1 (#1 – #4)
Working from home might’ve been your #1 goal when you decided you would work for yourself. The idea of not having to commute, fight traffic, or look for a parking spot might’ve been a big part of the appeal.
While a lot of your time will be spent physically training clients, PT’s starting their business will spend much of their working hours working on their business.
During this period, follow these seven rules for maintaining productivity while working from home.
These strategies are tried and sworn-by, written by someone who went from a 40 minute commute to working in their pyjamas. (Until I learned better).
Seven rules to self-impose
while working from home
1: Get Dressed for Work.
If you’re someone who doesn’t often train clients in the morning, or instead dedicates an entire day to admin/working on your business, this one is for you.
While the idea of replying to emails in your pyjamas might scream ‘no effort’, having a ‘work uniform’ that you can take off at the end of your work day will help maintain that separation between Work You and Home You.
Even if your office is only in the next room.
Since you don’t have the end-of-day commute to help you wind-down, changing out of your work clothes will help in place of your drive home.
Similarly, getting dressed will help maintain this distance from Home You, and will keep you in a professional mindset.
2: Work out before work.
PT’s are notorious for not getting enough ‘me time’ when it comes to working out.
Maybe you can’t stand the sight of a gym at the end of an entire day working in one.
Maybe you start training clients at 5.30am every day, and the thought of getting up at 3am to fit in a work out makes you want to vom (understandably).
Before getting stuck into your paperwork, get your heart pumping.
Students who exercised prior to taking a test show results of improved focus and better test scores, in comparison to those who did not. This is understood to show the same effects and similar results in adults.
Not only will you have ‘punched out’ a workout and put yourself in a better mood, but you’ll be more likely to stay on track during admin tasks, too.
3: Eliminate sources of distraction + keep a ‘clean desk’ policy.
‘Distractions’ include, but are not limited to:
Little reminder notes scattered around your desk or stuck to your computer screen.
Keep all of your notes in a notebook that you can cross-off, and most importantly: shut the lid on, when the workday is done.
If you have something rather important you need to remember, outsource that reminder to your electronic calendar. Post-it notes tend to blur into the background after a few days.
Little ‘bings’ or on-screen notifications on your phone or computer.
(Unless they are set by you to remind you when to move to the next task).
Having your email notifications fight for your attention while you’re ‘in the zone’ is not productive. It also sends a message (to yourself) that you are not in control of your to-do list, others are.
Block out time in your calendar to check messages and respond to emails, and tell those who call you regularly your new policy. Set their expectations, and let them know why you might not be great at replying to texts – you’re working – and if it’s an emergency, to call you instead.
Little humans running around.
If it is even remotely possible to perform your admin while working from home without having to also share your attention between work and children, do this, and protect it.
If it isn’t, you may find you’ll get more done while they’re asleep – even if it is the end of the day and you are just about ready for bed yourself. (See #6, though).
Your clean desk policy means that no scraps of paper are to be left on your desk at the end of the day. Securing your client paperwork at the end of the day, straightening your keyboard and stationary, and putting together all loose paper must make up your end of day procedure.
This ensures you don’t let anything ‘pile up’ (literally), and make a conscious decision about what you are working on when you set yourself up at the start of a work session.
4: Pick a room for work, and do only 1 thing in that room.
“Your bed is for sleep and sex only.” – Lauren Conrad
It might be obvious that you shouldn’t work (or eat biscuits) in bed. Those that are working from home tend to not be so strict when it comes to admin from their kitchen or lounge.
Not all of us have a spare bedroom or dedicated study in our homes, but we absolutely should not turn our dining or coffee tables into multi-purpose work spaces.
You want to be able to ‘shut the door’ to your office. You also don’t want to have mostly-finished work projects on your dining table before sitting down for dinner.
This follows the same principle as strategy #1, where you want to promote as much separation between work and home as possible.
If you don’t have a spare room in your home, pick up a writing desk and chair from a second-hand store, and use it for work purposes only. Keep this in the largest room in your home if you can, and especially out of the bedroom.
When you sit down at this desk (dressed the part), you are in work-mode.
Not to mention, dedicated office furniture is typically entirely tax-deductible.
In my experience:
I eventually moved to a home with no dedicated study, and the lounge room was too small to keep a dedicated desk for work purposes. I rented a co-working space, and couldn’t be happier.
You can find co-working spaces in most larger cities, and they typically start from about $10/day.