A few weeks ago, I blogged about seven bad habits that you need to break for a successful freelance life but what about good habits that could make life easier?
Here are my top ten daily business boosting habits – follow them and you should see your productivity soar.
1. Plan your day
When you work for yourself, it’s easy for your day to get hijacked by someone else’s agenda. All it takes is an unexpected email or phone call and suddenly your to-do list goes out of the window.
I always try to plan my day, usually as the last thing I do before I switch off my computer the night before. I think about what I absolutely must do, my goals for the week and the tasks I would like to achieve.
One helpful tip is to decide when you plan to read your emails and to do your most important tasks before you open your inbox. That way, you can respond to emails when it fits with your schedule, not someone else’s.
2. Set and stick to your goals
I’ve said it before, I know, but one of the best habits you can adopt is to set goals and have a plan for achieving them. They say “a goal without a plan is just a wish” and I tend to agree. It’s worth earmarking a small pocket of time every day to revisit your short-, medium- and long-term goals and make decisions or do one or two small things that will help you move towards them.
3. Have a dedicated workspace
I appreciate that it isn’t always possible to have a dedicated workspace. Some people successfully run their businesses from the dining room table or a laptop in the living room.
However, if you do have room for a dedicated workspace in your house, I’d urge you to use it. In my experience, it feels empowering to have a space solely for your business, somewhere you don’t have to pack up for family meals etc. and that you can ideally close the door on at the end of the day to better separate your business from your home life.
4. Clear your inbox
With the recent deluge of GDPR emails, keeping my inbox under control has felt pretty daunting at times.
Still, spending just 10 minutes a day on clearing out that day’s emails can make a huge difference to your overall sense of control and organisation. It also ensures that important emails don’t get missed.
5. Track your time
Keeping track of how you spend your time is great for invoicing purposes and for keeping a record of how long various activities take. This can help you to build more accurate quotes in the future and better plan your diary.
There are loads of time tracking tools available such as Toggl, which is a free option. This is a simple piece of online software that lets you track the working day and run reports about how your time is spent. It even senses when you’re inactive or have switched to a different focus and reminds you to change what you’re tracking or stop the timer.
If a time tracking tool doesn’t work for you, try jotting down the time whenever you begin and end an activity so you can see how you’re spending your time every day. It might surprise you.
6. Take breaks
If you’re not already in the habit of taking regular breaks, then making it a habit needs to be a priority. I know it sounds counter-productive but, in my experience, the more you build breaks into your working day, the more effective you will be when you’re at your desk or running a training session.
7. Check your finances
It pays to know the numbers in any business. By making a habit of checking your finances, you will build up a better picture of your cash flow, stresses and how to deal with them, costs, charges and so much more.
It can also protect you from nasty surprises that tend to strike people who’ve lost a handle on their incomings and outgoings.
8. Post to social media
Social media can be a time suck if you don’t plan your usage. My advice is to plan time into your day for checking social media, responding to comments and writing/scheduling posts. The best plan is to batch write and schedule content once a week/fortnight/month – whatever works best for you – and then just touch base with your social media pages on a daily basis to see if there’s anything that needs your attention.
9. Keep in touch with your industry
I know you have a million and one things to do every day but, as a trainer, it’s vital that you keep in touch with what’s happening in your industry. Make it a habit to read what influencers are saying, keep an eye on Google Trends, read industry news sources and keep in touch with your network.
10. Follow up with clients
It costs a lot less to attract repeat business than it does to find new clients. Therefore, one of the best business boosting habits is to follow-up with clients from the point of enquiry right through until after training has been delivered. Little touches such as a quick thank you email or responding to feedback from trainees can all help forge a long-term relationship.
Do you have any habits that you feel have helped your business? Is there something you’d like to get into the habit of doing? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the Comments below.