working late

Work is fun when you love what you're doing and really enjoy your colleagues' company. What about when you work for yourself, though? These tips have helped me stay on task over the past five years, and they'll also help you cultivate an enriching experience as a solopreneur, pump up your productivity, and top up your motivation and engagement.

  1. Gamify your day. Level up your workday by infusing a little fun. I make deals with myself on the daily: a challenge with a powerful incentive. One constant deal is that once I clear my to-do list and set myself up for success in the morning, my workday is done -- even if it's 10 a.m. when that happens. On Fridays, I schedule in a 30-minute review period in which I go through my week of work client by client. A perfect week earns me a bottle of wine. Here are some more ideas for gamifying your day.
  2. Prioritize personal development. Learning is fun, but it's easy to put it off until the weekend. Make it a point to learn or do something new every day, whether it's work-related or not. This could be as simple as reading through the archives of your favorite blog for 30 minutes or as involved as taking an art class or private Pilates lesson with a pro.
  3. Switch up your scenery. The best thing about working for yourself is that you're not chained to a desk or any specific area. Take your laptop into another room, or face a different direction. Lately, I've been standing up at the breakfast bar, which lets me look out the window and gather my thoughts. Head to a coworking space for a month, or work from your local library or coffee shop. Sometimes novelty is all you need to make work fun.
  4. Shake up your schedule. Who says you have to work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.? Experiment with your schedule: give yourself core hours (for me, core hours are between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.) and play with the rest of your workday. You might find that your creative hour is 6 a.m., or that you're most focused on churning out repetitive tasks around 11 p.m.
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