The fact is, by being your own boss, you take on full responsibility for your time. Without someone to tell you when or where to work, it’s up to you to discipline yourself.
The problem? Most people are lousy at holding themselves accountable – at work and at home. And particularly when it comes to balancing the two. For instance: How long is your list of really important personal things that you haven’t done in weeks?
It’s all about structuring your day and creating accountability. And there are ways to do this both big and small:
Structuring Small: Personal Reminder Services
There’s no shortage of productivity-focused services. Tools like Remember The Milk can help you stick to a schedule and not forget the important things on your list, while the well-titled HassleMe simply nags you about anything you like, at any interval, over email. The more sophisticated iPing will actually call you.
If these, or similar services, sound like something that can help you, Mashable has a rundown of 30 different reminder services here.
Of course, while reminder services are a useful supplement, really building the discipline needed to structure your day productively might take a more concerted effort.
Structuring Big: Group Co-working
A few years ago, Brad Neuberg, a freelance developer in San Francisco, found himself working around the clock with too little time for personal maintenance. He consulted a life coach, and they together came up with the idea of “coworking”—which, in its original incarnation, was a special event where participants would share a structured workday.
In his words: “Unlike a traditional office, in the Spiral Muse Coworking Group we begin the day with a short meditation and circle to set our personal and work intentions, and check in physically and emotionally with where we are. Then, we work in the amazing Spiral Muse house, sitting at tables or relaxing on couches as we do our work. Even though each of us is doing separate work, perhaps programming or writing a novel, we can feel each others presence, run ideas by the community, or take breaks together at the "watercooler." We take lunch as a group, and then later in the day have a 45-minute break where we do a different healthy activity every day, such as guided yoga, meditation, a nice walk, or perhaps a bike ride in the sun. We end the day at 5:45 PM sharp, supporting each other in both starting a good work day at 9 AM and ending our work in a healthy, balanced way at the end of the day.”
While the structure Neuberg set up might not work for your particular needs, it’s an interesting model to draw inspiration from. What could you do within your business to lend better, healthier structure to your day? If you adopted a version of Neuberg’s example above into your company’s culture, what would it look like?
***This post comes from Tony Bacigalupo, founder of New Work City, a co-working space in New York City, and a partner at Shift 101, a workspace consultancy. Tony’s fieldwork feeds into the knowledgebase of the Behance Team, who run the Behance Creative Network, the Action Method project management application, and the Creative Jobs List.