One of the challenges many new consultants have with self-employment is productivity. If you’ve been used to working for someone else, and therefore being chased and held accountable, and/or working in an office with others rather than by yourself at home, it can be a bit of a shock to the system to realise that, actually, there aren’t any immediate consequences if you are not productive. This is especially true in the early days when a lot of your activity will be business development-related rather than client work with more of a deadline and more of an immediate impact if you don’t do it.
A really useful lesson I learned quite early to help combat that problem was identifying my most productive times and places. Developing that self-awareness is key to getting yourself going, getting things done when there aren’t the immediate consequences, and avoiding the trap of needing to ‘feel the fear’, that simply doesn’t work for activities that have no actual deadline.
We are conditioned to work in a normal ‘office hours’ day, and in an office environment, or, if running our own consultancy business, usually from home. But that doesn’t mean that, for you, this arrangement is most conducive to productivity.
Try some variations out and see what works. ‘Notice’ when you are finding yourself most productive and go with it – when you’ve got a lot done, what time of day was it, where were you, what other circumstances were at play? Identify what makes a difference and then run with it as much as possible.
I am better at working from home than I used to be, but something I found really made a difference to my productivity was working elsewhere. Before I could afford an office, I used to sit in hotel lounges for hours. For the price of a couple of coffees, you get a pleasant, usually quiet, environment, and, for me, that worked really well. Coffee shops were less good.
I also find I am often more productive in the evenings. Not so easy when you’ve got kids or other responsibilities, but I still make the most of that occasionally. And I’m also quick to identify when productivity has ‘seized’ me, and run with it- rather than thinking “Now I should be doing the washing” or whatever it might be, if I’m feeling a moment of inspiration work-wise, I make the most of it. One of the benefits of self-employment is that you can turn your day topsy-turvy if you need do. Work doesn’t need to be done 9-5 and washing doesn’t need to be done outside those hours!
Developing self-awareness about your own productivity can really help you get more done as a self-employed consultant, and can combat one of the challenges of being your own boss!
If you’re interested in talking to us about becoming a partner with face2faceHR, with bags of support, do get in touch.