• Alice Prenat

"SURVIVING WORKING FROM HOME" SERIES (2/4): HOW TO AVOID THE 5 MAIN TIME SUCKING TRAPS

(Article en français: Télétravail, comment déjouer les pièges de la procrastination)





🇺🇸After about 10 years working in different types of open spaces in a previous 'life' evolving in different marketing positions and now after 4 years being happily self-employed working in different places around the world also having a shared photography studio, I do know oh so well how overwhelming it can get to get things done in a 'non-office' environment.


So I decided to share all my favorite tips & 'no BS tricks', in this blog post series to help you go through, in the best possible way, the coming weeks!


This is one of a 4 articles series. Check out all the other ones HERE.






When you work from home, you will find yourself weirdly having an urge to do all the things that you usually hate to do (laundry... house cleaning... pairing your socks, etc) ... your subconscious will suddenly make you procrastinate as much as possible and it will put on your path so many time-sucking traps until the clock shows 6 pm and you declare "ok, that was not a very efficient da I guess... I call it for today but tomorrow I swear: I keep focused and productive !" ... Yeah sure.


And a week could go on like that. Not really checking anything off your to-do list...


And the feeling of frustration at the end of it is NOT a comfortable one. At all.


I have been there. So so many times.

However in my case, as a solopreneur, I had to learn very very quickly to get things done, it's a question business growth and putting food on my plate! (That's what you discover going from being an employee in corporate to being your own boss!)




So here are the 5 most common time-sucking traps the procrastination 'monster' will put on your path and how to beat each of them with pride and strength! #beattheprocrastinationmonster






TRAP #1


MAKING YOU FEEL IT'S SIMPLY LIKE A DAY OFF




You wake up, take your breakfast on this great home office day and then comes a thought 'Why would you have to get dressed! After all, you are going to stay home the whole day! No one will see you... so yes, let's stay in PJ a little bit longer" And while we are at it "And let's not seat at the table but... let's work from bed... after all if I stay in PJ, so staying in bed makes sense... and if I don't do that while working from home, then when ?!"


You then start answering some emails, then you manage some calls, as always, there are some unexpected emergencies to handle with your colleagues. Oh, it's noon, let's quickly reheat a bit of thaï leftovers and eat in front of the computer to be able to meet a deadline at 2 pm.


The afternoon goes until your planned video call at 4 pm with a prospect you have been trying to convince for a little while.


3:55 pm, a horrible realization comes to your mind 'I AM STILL IN MY PJ NOT SHOWERED...IN BED... SUPER FAR FROM PRESENTABLE !'... (I let you imagine the next 5min before the call).


Here you are, right in the middle of the TRAP making feels like...(you know).

Another effect 'staying in PJ ad working from bed' has is to get you too comfortable and the slide is then even more slippery to get you to decide to watch a Netflix episode while eating lunch... and then just one more to digest... and then another one because why not... and then you are TRAPPED.





BEAT THE MONSTER

Wake up, shower, and get prepared EXACTLY as would you go to the office at the usual time. No overthinking. No Excuse. Just do it. You do it every other so just KEEP DOING IT AS USUAL. No exception. Makeup included if you are a Madame who is usually wearing makeup at work.


And please please please seat at a table. Not in bed. Not on the sofa. At a table.

Your back will also thank you later.







TRAP #2


DOING THE LAUNDRY RIGHT NOW, AT THIS SECOND

IS ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL FOR YOUR SURVIVAL




You have succeeded to wake up and get prepared as usual. Great! #yougotthis


You seat at your computer, all ready to crush that to-do list and then, you feel an urge 'oh, I need to do the laundry... like RIGHT NOW. Yes, right at this EXACT minute. The day can NOT go on without doing the laundry right at this second" ... and here you are: TRAPPED!




BEAT THE MONSTER

2 options for you 😈 :


Option #1: Kill it right of the bat, cold-blooded: Say out loud "No. NO. No no no and NO. I WILL NOT LET MYSELF TRAPPED. I do not need to do the laundry now. It will that I am done with my day". And you get one with your day.


Option #2 (actually my favorite): Use the laundry task SMARTLY. Use it as a timer to get things DONE. Something like: "By the time the washing is done, I will have finish that product launch presentation." "When the drying is done, I will have finally send that price proposal".







TRAP #3


YOU NEED TO CHECK FOR THE 100TH YOUR LATEST FB POST BECAUSE...YOU NEVER KNOW... MIGHT GO VIRAL!




You are not super active on social media but you still enjoy checking what your friends are doing with their lives. Yesterday though, you posted a picture of your Sunday brunch as it looked so so yummy! It got some likes throughout this afternoon, but nothing major. You thought it would have scored better. But let's check again this Monday morning at 10am (Maybe people have finally took some time on Monday morning to check their fb page and liked your brunch pic.) One more like. At 11am, it's beyond yourself, you need to check again, you never know !!


STOP !! the procrastination monster TRAPPED YOU! STOP.

(I know, I have been there.)





BEAT THE MONSTER

Step 1: The usual "de-activate ALL the notifications from your phone AND computer. We all know it. Let's not pretend it's a new trick we haven't heard of yet. Just DO IT. Go to the notification center of your phone and DO IT. Don't overthink. And do not worry, if something happens to your loved ones, your phone will still be able to receive calls.



Step 2: Find a box or a drawer in the room you use the least during the day (small clue: your bathroom might most probably be the bathroom 🛁). Put your phone in that drawer or box in that room. Leave the room and get going with what you have to do. You will be so impressed by how much you will forget about your phone! Try it!

Another great trick is to also give it to someone: Having to ask someone to check your phone will make it harder.



Step 3: If you still feel the urge to come and check your phone and you find yourself in that bathroom in front of that drawer. Put a post-it on that box or drawer with a bit STOP written on it. Stop yourself for few seconds and say out loud "No no no, I will NOT GET TRAPPED. ME? GET TRAPPED? SERIOUSLY? Like I can't handle it? Who do you think I am? NO, I will show you that I can handle it and that I can go back to my seat. Watch me do it'.


In case you have to actually use your phone to check something work-related (for instance going on Linkedin because impossible for you to remember the last name of that prospect you met at that networking event and you need to follow up. I have been there...). REPEAT 10 TIMES before your take you click on the app icon 'I just check this person last name' (or whatever thing you have to check). 10 times. And you do it. and once you are done, you CLOSE the app. Please, do NOT SCROLL.

If you do not repeat that before clicking, you will find yourself opening the app, starts scrolling and an hour later be 'why did I open the app again ?.. can't remember'



For the sneaky ones who check Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin (or whatever other platforms) on the computer :

1: Don't create shortcuts or bookmarks for it. Make it hard to get to.

2: Do not have your browser save the passwords and log out from all your social media platforms. Having to re-enter the password every time will give you time to realize that you are on your way to be trapped and give you time to STOP yourself.







TRAP #4


YOU HAVE TO ANSWER EACH AND EVERY SINGLE EMAIL IN THE 4S AFTER YOU RECEIVE THEM, OTHERWISE YOU WILL GET EATEN ALIVE.




Look at all the recent emails you received and be honest: most of them could wait a business day to be answered, right? Yes, I thought so too. (I have had that realization as well).


And that trap is even more dangerous when you are a solopreneur when you receive a lead.

The usual reaction is to drop EVERYTHING (marketing campaign preparation, website update.. brainstorming on your next product launch... the game you are playing with your daughter on a Saturday morning... EVERYTHING will be dropped) to answer the lead because " Come on !! Business First !!"

Ok, STOP. Right there, you have been trapped by the Procrastination Monster. Big BIG time.


Your job is NOT to answer emails the entire day. No.

Your job is to create. To write. To build. To imagine. To prepare. No, it's not to answer emails all day. Any successful entrepreneur or manager will confirm.




BEAT THE MONSTER

Switch off your emails and check them twice daily and that will be ENOUGH.

Put a 15min timer to answer all the ones that can be managed in less than 2min.

Put all the rest in a folder (or whatever your way to organize them) and dedicate a 1h30 session for them AFTER you are done with what you have planned for the day.


Add a small phrase in your email signature like 'Allow 1 business days for response' (or more business days if you want, your call).



Your purpose in life is NOT TO ANSWER EMAILS, right? People will understand BECAUSE THEY ARE IN THE SAME EMAILS RACE AND SITUATION. You were not put on this planet to get lost in the email game. The day you die, you '0 emails in your inbox" will not MEAN anything. However, the people you serve, the projects you build, the moments you create and share are what matters. Emails can wait. (Ok you need to answer at some point, but don't overstress over them.)


You can check the great tool BOOMERANG to help you beat that trap.







TRAP #5


YOU CAN NOT START WORKING WITH ANY RANDOM PLAYLIST.

IT HAS TO BE THE ABSOLUTE PERFECT AND RIGHT ONE FOR YOUR MOOD




... and there you go, you have just lost already 30min just searching for the right playlist. Trying something but then your mind got distracted so searching again for something... Stop stop stop. (Again, I have been there. That's almost my favorite excuse to lose time before doing something I don't feel like doing)


Multitasking is actually no the best way to get focused. It's proven.

Listening to music and working is actually multitasking for your brain.



BEAT THE MONSTER


The best way to be actually very focused would be not to put any music on AT ALL.

Try, you will be very surprised.

If you are in an open space with those amazing noise-canceling headphones, put them on without music on (which has another MAJOR advantage) and... see you in 2 hours after being completely immersed in whatever fun things you are doing!


If you are someone who hates the awkwardness that can take place with no music, you can try instrumental music. It is indeed very nice sometimes to have nice music in the background. I do enjoy it too. Instrumental music means NO LYRICS.


Here are some of my favorite instrumental Spotify playlists:



If none of those are your style, type 'instrumental' and you should find great ones.

But don't spend hours trying to find the perfect one.

Promise yourself that if in 5min you are still searching, you will be 'doomed' to work with NO MUSIC 😉 !! (A bit like trying to choose a movie on Netflix 😂)






SMALL BONUS WEAPON TO BEAT THE PROCRASTINATION MONSTER:

THE APP FOREST


It's good for you. It's good for the environment.

And it's fun !!

(They even have a tree in the shape of a cat 🐱!

No, I am not sponsored in any way)


(Article en français ici 🇫🇷 )


ARE YOU A #WONDERMADAME

Dear peers photographers, getting inspired is "ok" but please find your own words for your website: It will be way much more convincing, believe me. Trust your creative mind. Also, you are surely aware of the copyright on your images, it's the same for website copy. Feel free to contact me for any question you would have, I am always happy to answer !

Cher(es) consoeurs, confrères photographes, prendre de l'inspiration est 'ok' mais s'il vous plait, trouvez vos propres mots sur votre site internet et brochures marketing: croyez-moi, c'est beaucoup plus convaincant. Faites confiance en votre pouvoir créatif ! Aussi, vous devez être familier avec la notion de copyright sur vos images, c'est pareil pour le texte d'un site internet. Si vous avez une question, contactez-moi, je suis toujours ravie d'y répondre. 

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