How to Develop Discipline When You're Self-Employed
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How to Develop Discipline When You're Self-Employed

Being self-employed can be a beautiful thing. You can set your schedule, take time off at your discretion, and even complete a full day’s work without ever leaving the house. However, without the structure of an office and a timesheet to fill out, it can be challenging to motivate yourself to get to work and stay focused.

Here are a few tips for making the most out of every workday when you’re self-employed:

1. Set and Maintain a Schedule

Maintaining a schedule is critical to getting work done consistently. Waking up, working out, and conducting business at a set time every day, helps you ensure that all your daily tasks get done and nothing slips through the cracks. When you have a daily routine, you don’t need to coax yourself out of bed because muscle memory will eventually take over and propel you through the day.

2. Establish a Workspace

While it might be tempting to do all your work from the comfort of your warm bed, I’ve personally found this to be unsustainable. After a few days of working in bed, my mind starts blurring the lines between work and rest. Eventually, my productivity declines, and my sleep schedule gets disrupted. Instead, after my morning workout, I head next door to the local coffee shop to begin my workday. Coworking spaces, coffee shops with reliable wifi, and even libraries are great places to set up shop without spending a fortune on office space. Some spaces, like Ethel’s Club, specifically target People of Color. Hopefully, more inclusive spaces open up in the future so that you can have a consistent space where you can work comfortably.

3. Finish Out Every Day by Planning the Next

To have a productive day, you need a plan. However, figuring out the plan at the moment can be stressful and counterproductive. Use the last few minutes of each workday to take stock of everything you’ve gotten done and make a list of priorities for the next day. These few minutes will help you hit the ground running every morning.

4. Prioritize Your Health

When you’re on the daily grind, it can be easy to make health and nutrition the lowest priorities in your day.  Saying “I don’t have time to work out,” or “I’m too busy to cook healthy meals,” are some of the lame excuses I hear from entrepreneurs, young and old alike. However, proper nutrition and regular exercise can make us both mentally and physically stronger and better prepared to handle the curveballs that life serves us. There are even apps that can assist in your mental health journey along the way. For instance, Liberate Meditation is an app for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color that promotes inner peace through meditation. Don’t just focus on the well-being of your physical health but your mental health as well.

5. Know Yourself

Self-awareness is critical to developing good discipline as an entrepreneur. Take note of your rest and work habits to help fine-tune a process that works for you, and be prepared to make tradeoffs. I recently found that I am most productive in the late-night to early morning hours (think between 11 pm and 2 am). However, I also enjoy going to bed early and getting in a good workout at the crack of dawn. The two were incompatible so, I decided to stay up for as long as I need to get my work done and push my workouts to mid-morning.

If you are not a morning person, scheduling meetings for early mornings is setting yourself up for failure. Find what works for you.

Cultivating discipline is a continuous process. It won’t happen overnight, and you will make mistakes along the way. However, always remember that your success as an entrepreneur depends heavily on your ability to master your daily routine.