Earlier last month, I started a new chapter in my career, becoming a full-time content creator and interior stylist. After being in steady full-time employment for the last 10 years of my life, it’s been a big adjustment to make – not only financially, but in terms of pushing myself mentally to get the drive and motivation to get up every day and make my business succeed.
I’m lucky in the fact that I’ve developed and grown Apartment Number 4 alongside my old job for the last 8 years, but over the last four weeks since launching my own business I’ve felt such a huge range of emotions – nervous, scared, excited, scared, worried, even more excited, you name it, I’ve felt it.
However, now I finally feel like I’m hitting my stride and what better time than Sunday evening to share how to stay motivated and how I’m planning on having my most productive week yet working for myself. Here’s to making lots of dollar, creating some amazing content to share with you guys and being so thankful those Sunday night blues I used to have, have disappeared. Forever, hopefully.
How to stay motivated? Begin the week on a Sunday
The best way to kick off a productive week is to start that week on a Sunday. I’m not saying use precious weekend hours working but get into the right frame of mind for the week ahead by making sure your chores are finished, you’ve cleaned out your bag, your office is tidy (if you work from home), you’ve got fresh bedsheets on and you’ve pampered and preened ready for a brand-new week. If I wake up on a Monday morning to an untidy house, with chores still to do, my motivation levels drop instantly. Have a read of these ten Sunday rituals to help you have the best start to your week.
Wake an hour earlier
OK, so Monday morning has arrived. The start of a fresh new week. By waking up just one hour earlier you can get so much more done, especially if you wake up before the rest of the household and enjoy that hour just for you. I’ve written previously about my Miracle Morning Routine by Hal Elrod, and in my opinion, there’s no better way to kick-start a super productive week. I wake up at 6am and do the following in 5-minute blocks – meditate, guided visualisation, listen to an Audible book (my current favourite is How to be a Bawse by Lilly Singh), write my plan for the day, recite affirmations and stretch. It’s absolutely the best 30 minutes of the day. Once that’s done, I’ll make the bed, have a large glass of lemon water and take my multi-vitamins. What I also plan on doing this week is going for a 30-minute walk around the block to get the blood pumping and get out of the house now the sun is rising earlier and get some much-needed vitamin D and endorphins.
Make a must-do, a to-do and a can-do-later list
Having a to-do list is essential to having a productive week, especially if your mind is full of plans, appointments and things to finish. However, most of the time, when I look at my to-do list, it’s so full I find myself disappointed most days that I didn’t manage to tick everything off. So, start Monday morning with a must-do list – what have you absolutely got to do this week, without fail? Have that on your desk and complete those three things max. Then you’ll work on your to-do list – things that need to be done at some point, but aren’t essential they’re done first thing Monday morning (ring dentist, post ASOS parcel back). Finally, add to your can-do-later list. This is an ongoing list that I have with things like “dust light fixtures” and “lose 7lbs” – none of these things are Monday morning to-do’s, so there’s no point putting them on your main must-do list. Have that list in a notepad somewhere and make an effort every Sunday to see how you’re getting on with it – if something needs moving to the to-do list, you’ll know to get that done first thing Monday.
Work in hourly blocks
Now I’m juggling blogging, freelance writing work, interior styling projects, social media and the day-to-day running of a business, it can become very easy to feel overwhelmed with everything I need to do for the day. Working in hourly blocks each day is a great way to make sure I give 100 per cent of my brain power to one task at a time. For that one hour I will concentrate on scheduling social media content, for the next hour I will write a blog post, for the next one to two hours I will work on 4 Magazine, I’ll have an hour for lunch, I’ll spend the next hour sending pitches to brands to work together – you get the idea, right? This way, I get through so much of my must-do and to-do list, without being distracted by a million and one tasks simultaneously.
Running an online business means I need to continue educating myself to keep ahead of the game, and I often find that when I’ve taken a webinar, listened to a new business book on Audible or watched a video on Skillset, I feel motivated to get started on my goals. Take some time away from your desk through the day if you’re feeling a creative block but use it wisely and invest in educating yourself. Learning a new skill doesn’t stop the moment you finish school, especially in today’s fast-changing online environment. I’m currently teaching myself Adobe InDesign, as well as trying to master Facebook target advertising, and I’m absolutely loving being able to stretch my brain powers.
Schedule in socialising
It helps if you’ve got a busy week to fit in at least one or two evenings of socialising to break up the routine of work, work, work. As I’ve found recently, it’s even harder to strike a good balance between work and play when you work for yourself from the comfort of your home, but I’ve really pushed myself to make plans on an evening, whether that be catching a film at the cinema, going to a friends for dinner or meeting a fellow blogger for drinks and a good old brainstorming session.
It makes working hard through the day all the more worthwhile when you have nice plans for the evening. And if you find that you’re too tired to entertain or go out – because let’s face it, the pull of the dressing gown really is too much sometimes – make sure you switch off your laptop at 6pm at the latest, make a delicious dinner, jump in the bath and read or catch up on your favourite boxset – if your brain has switched off from work at a decent hour, you’ll feel much more productive the next day, than you would if you were working up until 10pm.
How do you make the most out of your week? Let me know your top tip of how to stay motivated and getting the most out of every day, especially if you’re running your own business or running a side hustle.