It’s always a good thing to be able to blame others for all your problems. In fact, I make it a policy wherever possible.
So you can imagine my distress when I found myself forced to accept responsibility for my own shortcomings at a business mastermind meeting. The discussion wending its way round the table was ‘what is your biggest challenge as a solopreneur?’. Not a startlingly original topic, which I answered with the equally uninspired complaint of distraction.
There is no doubt that the productivity of anyone who works in a home office is seriously threatened by thoughts of dirty dishes and laundry, and interruptions from demanding children, or dogs with dreams of the park.
I received all the usual advice – turn off the home phone; shut the office door for a pre-determined amount of time; and above all make sure the children understand not to interrupt unless there is fire, blood or a visibly broken bone.
Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard it all before – and much against my better judgement I found myself admitting that, try as I might to blame the house, the children, the husband and the dog, when it comes down to it, the real problem is me. If I’m working on a project for a client I am focused and motivated, because I do not miss deadlines. On the other hand, if I’m working on anything that could be described as admin or business development I will joyfully latch onto any tiny distraction that presents itself.
Oh dear – did I forget to put that green load on to wash? What happens if my son wants his favourite t-shirt tomorrow? Oh look the sun is shining – if I take the dog to the park now I will get a valuable dose of Vitamin D. I really haven’t phoned my parents in a while, and with the time difference between here and England I can’t wait until this evening … you get the picture.
The solution? I’m working from a rented office for a few hours, four days a week. My plan is to use that time, not to do the client work which I know will get done anyway, but to focus on anything more easily prodded down the to-do list.
After all these years it’s like having a job again! I pack my lunch and head off, watching the clock in case some imaginary boss notices me being late. Then once I’m there I find myself actually having to manage my time in order to dent my to-do list during the allotted time. I feel so grown up.
Seriously though, I think I may end up achieving more in 16 hours at that office than I usually do during the entire week. Let’s hope it actually translates into some kind of income.