There are so many articles that tell you that working for yourself is the dream. In fact, people like Tim Ferris have become extremely successful and built a fortune by selling the dream of giving up the 9 to 5. It’s a lifestyle that people are ready to buy in to. Working for yourself, from the comfort of your living room or even bed means never having to battle traffic, not having to even get out of bed in the morning. But can you still live this dream with anxiety?
Living the dream
All your goals are right within reach of your safe space.
What they hardly tell you is how hard it can be working from home and having no one to answer to. If you’re not extremely dedicated with a constant eye on your goals, you could find yourself slipping into the depths of an unproductive lifestyle. No one tells you how your anxiety will get in the way of your new business. No one tells you how hard that anxiety will make getting out of bed some days.
If you don’t have the pressure to perform and you don’t NEED to get up in the morning, your new “routine” can end up drowning you and the business ideas you’ve had in your head for the longest time.
Being in control of your own time can be challenging
When there’s no one watching you clock in every morning, there’s nothing to stop you from having a lie in that ends up being all you do that day! The more lie-ins you find yourself taking, the more your work piles up and your productivity drops to a minimum or even worse, disappears completely!
It’s not easy working for yourself and working from home can seriously kill your productivity if you don’t take steps to make sure that doesn’t happen. Because sometimes, your days will feel like too much to handle and it’s just too easy to give into that feeling and stay in bed.
Mental health blocks
Running your own business from home and struggling with anxiety or depression makes it just that bit harder to stay focused and achieve your goals when you’re overwhelmed by your own, often irrational, fears.
- Waking up in the morning is a task on its own.
- Getting dressed feels like an unnecessary part of your day
- Actually starting your working day seems like something that can wait till tomorrow
And how do you silence all those thoughts about failing and not making a success of your business. What about having to fight off the thoughts on a daily basis that tell you that you aren’t good enough and that it was a silly idea to think you could do this at all.
Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems”
How to do it all
Here’s how I make sure that all my tasks are completed by the end of the week and how I’ve managed to take care of my mental health while smashing my goals.
Get up and show up
It’s so important to believe in yourself, take care of yourself and ensure that you’re prepared for the day. Start every day by setting an alarm clock and getting up and getting out of bed!
- Have a cup of coffee or tea or what ever your drink in the morning.
- Make yourself some breakfast. You need the fuel to be productive.
- Get in the shower and get dressed as if you were going to be going into an office.
- Start working at a dedicated working time every single day.
If you know what you’re working towards, you’re more likely to actually get up and get active.
- Set yourself a list of achievable goals that you can tick off as you go.
- Be really specific and list each item individually but also set deadlines for those goals so that you have a working plan to achieve them.
- Don’t allow your goals and to-do list to overwhelm you by breaking them down into smaller, more achievable bite sized bits. Schedule days and even hours that you are going to be working on that particular item. Once you’re done, cross it off the list.
- If you need to, stick your list up somewhere where you can see it as you’re more likely to actually achieve your goals if you feel like you’re accomplishing them.
- Prioritise the items on your list and do the more important ones first and get them out the way.
Schedule breaks for yourself and downtime
The whole point of working from home and for yourself is so that you can have a more flexible lifestyle.
- If your child has a sports event, schedule that into your day so that you don’t feel guilty about taking the time off from working.
- Plan your breaks during the day. If you schedule a call with a particular difficult client, plan around it so that the tasks you complete afterwards aren’t as challenging and your mind can recover.
- If you need to go for a walk, go for a walk!
Don’t set the bar so high that you can’t even reach it
It’s still important that you remember your WHY for working from home. Don’t do anything that doesn’t feel right, puts too much pressure on you and makes you feel like it’s impossible to really do this.
- Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you need to take on every client that you come across.
- Don’t take on more than you can manage or you’re setting yourself up to fail. If you want to say no, say no.
Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to achieve it all.
- Set goals that are within your plan and let go of the minor things that make you feel like you’re drowning. Don’t try to be everything to everyone, let your friends and family know that you have boundaries and stick to them.
- Don’t work for free. Don’t do things for friends that take up valuable hours in the day but don’t validate your business. People will always want to save money and get a bargain. If you feel like you need to help, offer a slightly discounted rate but don’t be the go-to person for free work.
- Remember that you don’t have to be everything to everyone just because you’re working from home and people think you have all the free time in the world. Learn to say no and only do what you feel you can do.
You’ve got this
Struggling from mental health related challenges makes the world feel a lot harder than what it probably is. Don’t let the noise be so overwhelming that it cripples you. Have someone you trust that you can turn to when you just feel like you can’t cope. If it’s very serious, go and see a therapist who can help you to schedule your time and manage your self-doubt and what ever else is holding you back.
What I find really helps me, is starting the day off on the right foot. If I wake up and lounge in front of the TV, getting started with my day is a lot harder than if I stick to a routine and get on with what I need to do before it starts feeling like it’s more than I can handle.
If you do need to take time off during the day to deal with your mental health, then do that.
Life’s too short to not be kind to ourselves!