When you're a solopreneur, it's difficult to fit everything into the working day. Since you're your own boss, it falls on your shoulders to create a work routine and stick to it. But we all know the stress can cause us to stray away from our lofty expectations.
Fortunately, incorporating mindful practices into your routine can help you be more productive and feel less stressed. Although taking more breaks may seem counterproductive, allowing yourself to relax and refuel will help you accomplish more work.
So how do you do it? Here are four ways to integrate healthy, mindfulness practices into your everyday workflow.
Catch your breath
Sometimes, it just helps to take a deep breath. It's biology. When we are stressed, less oxygen travels to and actually reaches our brains. Pausing to inhale helps us reclaim oxygen and restore our brain activity.
Learn to pay attention to your breathing more often. Don't be afraid to close your eyes and concentrate on your breath, even if it's just for a few seconds. Relaxation apps like Breathe2Relax, Relax - Stress and Anxiety Relief and Breathing Zone can help you do this. You'll be surprised how much this simple technique can help your mind stay grounded, even when things don't go as planned.
Establish firm out-of-office hours
Although owning your own business can certainly cause lifestyle changes, those shifts don't need to negatively affect you. Being self-employed often can make you feel like you're “on the clock" 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That constant feeling of always working, can easily trigger stress.
To combat being always “on the clock," create a firm schedule, down to the minute, of your work day. Include breaks not just for meals, but for relaxing and perhaps, even a nap, if you feel that would benefit you. The time-blocking technique is a great way to make this happen.
Implement a no-screen policy
In addition to scheduling firm work hours, challenge yourself to schedule certain times of the day where you restrict screen use. This includes not only your smartphone, but also laptop and television. Screens are constantly straining our eyes and taking a break from the glare protects our eyesight from long-term damage.
This rule is especially important for eating and sleeping. Practice healthy sleep hygiene by keeping your phone away from your bedside and thoughts about work away from your pillow. And if you're ever afraid of forgetting a thought, keep a pen and notepad on your nightstand. Write down the thought right away, so you can forget it and return to it another time.
In order to better manage time spent on screens, it's important to understand how much time you spend on them. For instance, apps like ScreenTime (originally designed for parents to monitor their kids's screen time) show how much time you spend per day on different apps and programs.
Separate work from home space
At least when we're starting out, most solopreneurs work remotely from the comfort of their own homes. While it's awesome to eliminate commutes, working from home can be more challenging than a traditional office, because it requires self-discipline. When you're your own boss, no one is there to stop you from an unplanned, mid-day, post-lunch nap.
That's why it's important to separate your work space from your home space. Don't allow yourself to work from your bed! Consider investing in a coworking space. A coworking space allows you to create mental separation of physical space; your bed is at home, but your desk is at your office. Find a local coworking space by you through the Coworking Wiki.
You can also try creating a list of spots to work from, including coffeeshops and specific library branches, where you will only work from and never indulge in leisurely activities at. For tips on finding a great spot to work remotely, check out this guide on Lifehacker.
There are many avenues to incorporate mindfulness into your workflow, but the four steps above are simple ways to get started. Although it may require another action to your daily to-do list, these routines can help you be more productive in the long term. Being mindful is an effective way to keep your businesses sustainable.