The 3 Deadbeats Working in Your Home Office – Part 3: Connie

connieWelcome, entrepreneur/freelancer/go-getter.

You’ve met Farley and Patty, and you’re already feeling cheated by their unproductive ways. But I’ve saved the worst for last. She’s a big, crunchy, salty potato chip, and you can never stop at one. It’s practically impossible.

Strap in for Part 3.


Meet Connie, the Connected Employee

Connie likes to keep multiple tabs open in her browser. Some are articles she plans to read when she finds the time, a couple are client related, but her favorites are Facebook and Twitter. You rarely check on her, so Connie checks her Facebook friends’ posts whenever she feels like it.

Oh, she posts some clever responses!

Connie also checks email regularly because she wants to respond quickly to clients … but will follow a funny video link first. Or check out the deals from her favorite shopping sites. Or take several minutes to respond to a non-essential message from a friend who hates this or that. Connie’s constantly conning you out of your bread and butter.

Sucks that Connie is just another of your many personas.

Close the Facebook tab and save the non-essential emails for lunchtime or closing time. Social media can wait – as can so many other digital deliveries to your desktop. Take control of your time, and kick Connie to the curb.

If you started your own business thinking you’d enjoy more freedom and time to do what you want, you can have those things. They’re the result of hard work, dedication, efficiency and accountability. Those precious few hours from the time you wake until dinner time will make or break your success as an entrepreneur.

At the end of the day (or week, or month), you can enjoy the freelance life for all it represents: Freedom, career satisfaction, financial rewards and more.

Best of all, you can do it all with a staff of one.

The 3 Deadbeats Working in Your Home Office – Part 2: Patty

pattyGreetings, self-employed (or self-driven employed-by-someone-else) friend.

Now that you’ve met your secret employee, Farley (you did read Part 1, right?), you truly need to get acquainted with Patty. Where Farley encourages you to embrace distractions during your workday, Patty is a nut about efficiency and practicality. She gets things DONE. Sound like you?

This is the continuing saga of pesky multiple personalities – our multiple personalities. They rule our days, justify behavior we actually abhor and cleverly divert money from our paychecks.

Ready for Part 2?

Meet Patty, the Practical Employee

Did you know that if you shop for groceries early in the day, you beat the crowds? Patty does, and she’ll encourage you to do that – as well as take your car in for an oil change and do the dishes (your spouse will really love that). Hey, let’s paint the kitchen!

As far as Patty’s concerned, these things have to get done anyway. Go ahead and leverage all this freedom you have. You’ll feel like you accomplished a lot when 5:00 rolls around, even if you barely saw your computer. And Patty will feel that she truly earned the money she slipped out of your wallet. Notice how you and Patty seem to be at odds?

Rather than busy yourself with non-income building activities, do those things when “regular employed” people do them – in the evening or on the weekend. And show Patty the door.

Excited about meeting your third secret employee? Heeeeere’s Connie!

The 3 Deadbeats Working in Your Home Office – Part 1: Farley

me-in-kitchen-with-farley2Who ever guessed that I – a self-employed copywriter – had employees on the payroll?

Except for my little dog, Harry, I thought I was alone here … typing away in my small office, a spare bedroom in my home.

Fellow freelancers or companies of one, get up from your chair and look around. You need to meet the people who lack motivation, suck you into their time wasting activities, and – oh yes – get paid.

I’m talking about your other personalities, of course. The little voices in your head that talk you into doing anything but work. When you allow yourself to see them as real people sharing your space and time, things can get ugly.

To keep things short (and tease you into returning again and again), I’m sharing this hot info as a mini-series – one at a time. Of course, in the event you feel a sudden urge to rip me a new one for testing your will, all three parts are here on this blog.

Meet Farley, the Fun Employee

You spent years of your life working under the watchful eye of an employer before becoming your own boss. Suddenly, you could play fetch with your dog “to get the creative juices flowing.” You could have a two-hour lunch with an old friend “to network.” You could work on downloading a music compilation. No reason, Farley said it was okay.

Farley justifies any fun activity because, after all, you work hard. You deserve a little “me time.” Farley loves diversions and sucks you right in every time. Thing is, Farley gets paid just for showing up. And his salary comes out of your earnings. Just let this fun-loving employee take you on a few adventures and you’ll see it for yourself at the end of the month when bills are due.

Farley’s the reason you’ll miss a deadline or have to make an excuse to a client. At some point, you’ll realize the guy’s gotta go.

In the next installment, you’ll meet Patty, the practical employee. In a word, yikes.

 

Comments welcome!

The Billable Time Principle

Save ... and BILL ... your pennies.Is your time billable? More specifically, can you put this particular moment on an invoice? How about the previous hour, or the one following this one?

First things first.

You’ll forgive yourself this particular five minutes in the event it falls in the non-billable column. A good education, after all, pays you back with interest. So enjoy this investment in time as I put a fresh shine on that age-old adage: Time is money.

More to the point, as a business owner, manager, or valued cog in the machinery, you owe it to yourself to fill your day with billable activities. Track your time as it passes, rather than trying to remember it at the end of the day. Recognize when a freebie is actually billable, and have the courage to put it on your invoice. Save the majority of your distractions until after 6:00.

Bonus: Some small distractions are beneficial, provided you are in control of them. Take your hands off the keyboard. Stand up, and take a brief, brisk walk. Stretch. Eat something healthy. Get a glass of water. Read a magazine article. Make that important call. Then get back into your work refreshed.

An unexpected interruption, on the other hand, forces you to slam the brakes on productivity and shift into neutral. Your brain has no idea where this is going to go. Getting back to where you were before the disruption means shifting back into first gear and going through the motions before hitting cruising speed again.

If you find yourself believing you need more hours in your day, maybe all you really need is to prioritize the hours you have.