Arianna Huffington, founder of Huffington Post, has made a name for herself as an advocate of work-life balance. A former workaholic, Arianna now emphasizes how important sleep, meditation, and self-care are for her, and for all of us.
Her book, Thrive, is essential reading for anyone who works from home, where it can be incredibly hard to maintain work-life balance. If you haven’t had time to read the book, here are four key takeaways, plus tips on how to apply Arianna’s advice to your work from home career or business.
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Work Smarter, Not Harder
“We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.”
When you work from home, it’s easy to feel like you should be working all the time. Your office is so close, there’s always a deadline looming, and you feel like your next business breakthrough is just a few tasks away. But, as Arianna points out, success is measured by the quality of your work, not the quantity.
To make your business successful, you need to prioritize. Identify the most important tasks, the tasks that will help you make more money or reach some other business goal. Then, focus solely on completing those tasks. Don’t let yourself work all the time on everything. Spend quality time on the tasks that matter. Targeted, high-quality work will help you achieve more than working extra hours.
“And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, “This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!” And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, “No. This is what’s important.” —IAIN THOMAS”
Ain’t this the truth? Especially if you’re a parent, working from home can be just as challenging as working in an office. The laundry needs to be folded. Dinner needs to be cooked. A diaper needs to be changed. A client project needs to be revised. Email needs to be checked. The to-do list never ends.
Luckily, when you run your own business, you have the power to say, “No. This is what’s important.”
Practice setting boundaries with yourself, your clients, and your family. Create a firm schedule for yourself so you always know what you should be working on. Turn off your phone and internet access when you need to focus on a project.
Make it clear to clients that you are only available during business hours each week.
Teach your family that when your office door is closed, you are working and can’t be interrupted.
Outsource household chores by paying for a house cleaner, a babysitter, grocery delivery, or a meal prep service.
Remember that you are the boss, both of your work life and your home life. Run your business and manage your home life in a way that makes you feel fulfilled.
“Those who can sit in a chair, undistracted for hours, mastering subjects and creating things will rule the world—while the rest of us frantically and futilely try to keep up with texts, tweets, and other incessant interruptions.”
If you run your own business, chances are you’re trying to master your subject and create something amazing. It’s hard to focus on mastery when you’re constantly distracted.
At the same time, it’s hard to ignore the texts, tweets, and the other interruptions that punctuate your day. These distractions make us feel included, even needed. They activate pleasure sensors in our brains, which is why they are so addicting.
What can you do? Turn off notifications for your email and social media accounts. Disable email notifications from your social media accounts. You don’t need to be notified twice when someone likes your tweet or repins your latest blog post. Set aside specific time to check your email and social media accounts. As Arianna writes, “you should control when you want information, not the reverse.”
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
“I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself.”
When you work by yourself from home, you don’t always have clear benchmarks for success. So, many of us turn to the Internet to see how we compare to our peers.
This is a recipe for disaster. We each have different skills, different backgrounds, and different levels of experience. We also tend to present our best selves on the Internet, not the truth of our messy homes, our failing businesses, our fears and our struggles.
If you want to thrive as a small business owner, you need to stop comparing yourself to others. Instead, compare yourself to last month’s or last year’s version of yourself. Stay away from the blogs or people that make you feel bad about your business and focus on everything you’ve achieved or your goals for the future.
If you work from home, how do you thrive? Share your best tips in the comments!
Struggling to get everything done?