For the past four years, I have been working for myself from my home office/studio in Barcelona, Spain. Before that I lived in Brooklyn, NY and had a home office/studio where I also worked part-time when I wasn’t running all over the city doing makeup or performing in clubs.
Let me tell you, when you work from home – it’s very easy to stay in pajamas with your hair up in a messy bun and no makeup all day because you know that unless you have a Skype meeting with a client, nobody cares what you look like, right?
Well, I realized I wasn’t operating at full potential and have made some powerful changes. I am not perfect so I sometimes slip and go back to old habits. I didn’t learn these things from being great at first – you really just have to start where you are and learn along the way. I see now that if I’d had my future self as a coach helping me back when I was making mistake after mistake, I would be a lot happier, richer, and more productive!
I also created some POWERFUL tools just for you to download FREE HERE to help you be much more productive. I’m a solutions creator. It’s called The Samurai Productivity Toolkit – ‘cuz I know you want to kick some booty in life and business!!!
+Track your time
+Create a schedule
+Set your intentions each week
+Create a Morning Ritual
+Define Your Week’s Focus
+Keep you on track
I wanted to share this information with you because I wish someone else who understood a creative wild woman like me would have told me all this much sooner. It would have saved me a lot of time, money and heartache. I know it will help you too – Let’s do this!
#1 – Create A Schedule
Yes it’s amazing to be your own boss. But sometimes you need to treat yourself like you actually work for someone else – and you do! You work for your clients and your tribe so it won’t work to be a slacker and just do whatever you want, whenever you want (unless you want to go back to your day job!). Now, one of the great benefits of creating your own biz and being your own boss is deciding when you want to work and how. For example, I am not really good at working on other people’s projects first thing in the morning. I feel really creative at this time of day, and I have discovered that its best for me to spend my time in my genius zone first thing in the morning which leads me to…
#2-Create A Morning Ritual
To me the first hour in my day is sacred. I have not always treated it as such. But I know from my own failures that when I start the day out with intention it flows into grace. Meditation, mantra, hot water with lemon, green juice and green tea – these are some of the things that connect me to my body, mind and soul. Writing in my journal is another one. I love Julia Cameron’s promt from her best selling book “The Artist’s Way” – to start the day with 3 morning pages. When I get this right, I feel powerful and purposeful. What do you need to do to feel like you have stepped into your strength and are living with passion and purpose?
#3 – Discover Your Power Hours
There are certain times of day in which I feel the most connected to my own spirit, and after several years of confusion and struggling, I have discovered that early in the morning and late in the night I am really internal and these are the BEST times for me to do my own creating for myself. It’s the time when most other people are quiet that I feel like I can really hear the magic. Specifically, writing songs, designing new products or programs, making art/designs/posters, dreaming new ideas…anything original that comes from my spirit. I also realized that one of the reasons I hated working at a day job was having to give these sacred times to someone else. GRRrrrRRRR!!!!! Like a lioness, I fiercely protect these sacred power hours and love that I get them to myself. When do you feel most connected to your spirit?
#4- Stay Liquid
I will be the first to admit, I am not a big drinker. Especially not alcohol. I prefer to eat. When I get invited to parties or dinners and people ask, “what can I get you to drink?,” I’m secretly thinking – Who CARES!!! Do you have anything to eat?!! HAHAHAHA!!!! So even though I actually have been known for living for 92 days on juice just 2 years ago and many people know me as the juice girl, I forget to drink water. I eat a lot of raw fruits and veggies, so I think it might fill me up. I try to start the day off with a little ritual of 1 glass of water with lemon, a hot water with lemon and a green tea. (I said I TRY!!!) and then after that I usually make a juice and/or a smoothie (so you can see why I don’t really feel thirsty later in the day).
A new thing I am doing is to make several green teas in 12oz glass jars and keep one on my desk as I work. I have not been the most successful with this. (hey, at least I am honest!). I think I recently realized that plain water just isn’t turning me on. Does that happen to you? Adding in some lemon, mint, &/or orange slices is yummy. Drinking herbal and green teas works too. Green Juice gives you extra points, and if you want to stay energized all day I highly recommend adding acai powder to some pineapple juice. Forget coffee, which ages your skin, and strips 2 cups of water from your system leaving you depleted and haggard (remember, I am a makeup artist – I could always tell who drank even just one cup of coffee a day! GASP!). If you can drink coconut water, or make smoothies with them – you will stay well hydrated. Staying hydrated keeps your body and your brain working properly. When you get dehydrated you just cant think or function properly. I know, it’s happened to me. I tried using an app to remind me to drink (I think it was called Water Your Body) – but then it made me feel like a Stepford Wife every time it rang and I just could n’t deal with it. So I had to just figure out what would really work for me. The moral of this long story is – stay liquid!!!
#5 – Get Fresh Air
Ok this article is turning out to be an expose of all my faults – but honestly, if you are a wildly creative person like myself, you are gonna relate…and maybe even snicker to yourself. I am gonna raise my hand here and admit that I could actually stay inside all day and night working. I get laser focused (must be all the Zen training) and I can literally work for hours and hours and hours. Happily. By myself, so don’t talk to me! Leave me alone!!! BUT then I fell in love with these two furry children aka my dogs Bapuji and Lola and I am forced to get out of the pajamas, get dressed and take the fuzzy lovers out for their adventures (day and night). I honestly think if it weren’t for them I would not get any fresh air or exercise. I hate to admit it, but it’s true. I just LOVEEEEEE making things. I LOVE IT! I get high on creation. So that said, I realized after having my first born furry son Bapuji for almost 8 years now, that he kinda rescued me – and not the other way around. Right now I live in a part of Barcelona that is only a 6.5 minute walk from the forest behind the famous Park Guell. So basically I walk in a forest, up a mountain everyday. It’s a slice of heaven I never had in Brooklyn, and I cherish it as much as my dogs do. We look at each other up there – with big grins on our faces. I have found that these walks open my mind and I can think really well. Inventions and ideas flood through me and I feel rejuvenated. I love to record my thoughts on my phone in Evernote. It’s a part of my daily success and happiness ritual.
#6 -Take Breaks
I’m taking one right now – so I will get back to you on this.
HAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!! Just kidding. But seriously, Take breaks or you will go crazy. Get your mind off of what you are working on for at least 15 minutes a few times a day. Dance or sing, get some sun, pet the cat or dog, eat/drink something healthy, watch The Ellen Show, Breathe. It does a business and a body good.
#7 -Don’t Be Ruled By Social Media
I know its difficult not to check your email or Facebook or Instagram or Twitter ten times a day. We all do it. But it can be a huge distraction, and an energy drain. I think in general creating rituals around most everything in your life and business will help to keep things in order and ultimately for you to feel like you are powerful, profitable and productive. Some ideas I have are: schedule the times when you do email and social media, set a timer when you are on social media and keep it to that time frame. I know that for myself Facebook is a place where I connect with a lot of clients and potential clients, and partners – so I try to go in there with intention.
The first step to anything is awareness, so if you are someone spending too much time on social media – the best advice I have is to start tracking how you are spending your time. That’s part of why I created The Samurai Productivity Toolkit for you. It has a really sexy but still very Zen time tracker printable that you can use every week in your life and biz. This alone will help you to realize where your valuable time is being spent, and you will probably make adjustments accordingly. The other thing is to use really great social media tools like Buffer or Hootsuite to do your posting in bulk, and to use any and all digital and physical tools that make daily life flow with ease. This will absolutely save you and/or your assistant time so you can be as productive as possible.
#8 – Healthy Is Wealthy
If you work from home the kitchen is probably only a few steps away. It’s crucial to keep it stocked with fresh fruit, veggies and anything else that you think keeps you healthy and in alignment with your wellness plan. I make fresh meals all day and I have discovered a few time savers – and secrets that I can share with you. Smoothies are great throughout the day( at least once or twice) if you have a few recipes you like – why not section them out on a weekend and put all the ingredients into separate containers in the freezer – ready to go for the week. Just add coconut water, or freshly juiced pineapple or apple/orange juice and it will save you a lot of energy. You can do something similar with meals – for example – I will soak lentils or beans overnight and when I make my breakfast I get them on the stove and cook them – ready in time for lunch or dinner. I always make enough for a few days. I even make fresh food for my dogs!!!
#9 -Make Plans With Friends
It’s extremely easy to become a recluse when you work home alone. I am all too good at it. I love being alone. So I highly recommend getting out your weekly planner and inking a few plans in your calendar. Go hear some live music, meet your friends for a dinner or a nightly adventure, and if you live in a great city schedule in some cultural events. When I was packing up my life and moving from NYC to Barcelona in 2011, I had this overwhelming sadness because I realized that I was always putting off those trips to the museum or the theatre because “I lived there” and I could go anytime. I would meet people who were in town as tourists for a week and they did more in that week culturally than I did in a year because I was ALWAYS working. One of the best things about being your own boss is that you COULD spend an afternoon at the museum if you want to. I’m trying to be a nice boss to myself and learn how to appreciate my life as well…otherwise time will just go by and one day you will realize you never went to that concert, took that trip, had the adventures you always dreamed about because you stayed in the land of dreams. Its about going from dreamer to doer. The best way to do this is to decide you want something and put it into your calendar. THEN, reverse engineer all the steps you need to take to make it happen.
Let’s face it – it’s also really easy to leave clutter on your workspace when there is no one breathing down your neck telling you how to do everything…unless you are an obsessive-compulsive neat freak this tip won’t matter to you (or you will be cheering me on!) Now – I am a Virgo woman who likes her Feng Shui’d and all that jazz, but I am also a wild-n-crazy creative samurai who likes to make huge messes all over the place. Ink, paper, brushes, pens, paint & glitter….beads, wire, rocks, feathers, fabric, musical instruments, cables, chords…yeah – I can keep myself occupied with creative ideas forever and ever! Keeping it real (which is my style all the way) I will let you know that I battle myself with #10. I love to make a mess and I hate to clean it up. BUT – I like things to be Zen clean. Always been that way. Finally accepting that I am a walking contradiction and honestly trying to love myself the way I am. I have taught myself to create forms and rituals that will serve me so that I can feel good about myself and be as productive as possible. I am NOT the kind of person who can work in a chaotic messy environment. It makes me itchy. So I try to end the day with a little ritual of cleaning up. (I said, I TRY!). I love working during the wee hours when most everyone is asleep – so sometimes I just don’t feel like cleaning up late at night and don’t do it. Then I wake up feeling mad at myself and have to clean up before I can start the day. This definitely messes with my morning ritual and my daily mojo. So like I said – learn from my mistakes. You will be better off if you just clean up and make the place nice. It never takes more than 10 minutes. You will breathe new life into your ideas and be a lot happier. Fresh flowers are a nice touch too. I think a clear mind and a clear space go hand in hand.
Don’t forget to grab your FREE productivity kit:
I created The Samurai Productivity Toolkit for you to download FREE HERE to help you:
- Track your time
- Create a schedule
- Set your intentions each week
- Create a Morning Ritual
- Define Your Week’s Focus
- Keep you on track
I hope you were truly inspired and maybe even slightly enlightened by this article. Might seem very simple, but as my Zen Master’s have taught me – it’s the daily practice of simple things that polishes our rock into a diamond. It’s your job to transform yourself from a diamond in the rough to a shiny superstar and I truly believe in you.
Cheers to your success! I can’t wait to hear about them or answer any questions you have. Share them all with me & some cool pics of you using your new Samurai Productivity Toolkit in my new Facebook community “The Diamond Life Dojo” (100% FREE to join).