Working from home... How you can get the most out of your day
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Working from home can be challenging if you have been accustomed to working in an office. It has its benefits and challenges. Work in your pyjamas, cleaning throughout the day... HOLD UP... HOLD UP..... At the end of the day are working and reporting to yourself. You are the BOSS!
In this episode, I share my personal tips and experiences working at home and how I manage to get the most out of the day and how you can too.
Links Mentioned in the Episode
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Quotes from the Episode
“Either way, it's your life, design it as you need and what works for you”
“Everybody has a to-do list, just make sure you turn it into an action list”
“It’s easy for you to become your own worst enemy”
“We are here for a short time”
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Announcer: Welcome to Travel Agent Achievers! The place to learn how to grow your travel business and have fun with it. Join Roslyn and her guests as they walk you through proven steps to a fulfilling and profitable business.
Roslyn Ranse: Welcome to Travel Agent Achievers is the place to learn how to grow your travel business and have fun with it. Join Roslyn and her guests as they walk you through proven steps to a fulfilling and profitable business.
Bula everybody! Welcome to Travel Agent Achievers podcast for the week! I am here in Fiji, it’s early in the morning, I’m sitting on my balcony, palm trees swaying. Sun is rising and the sound of the ocean crashing out on the reef, it truly is a destination that I think everyone should come to.
I have been here a ton of times, I even got married here in Fiji - but each time I return I see something new.
How lucky are we, as travel agents to be able to travel the world and explore, educate others on opportunities and our clients, places that can open your mind and heart to new experiences you wouldn't get at home.
I am here on a 3 day scoping trip with one of my clients and even though I am away from my family which is tough but we need to make a choice and it's my son, Jackson’s 5th birthday this week, the day I arrive home and that’s tough being away, I am feeling so grateful. Yes I’m tired, there’s the jetlag, there’s the continual movement and being on a scoping trip, I am with clients as well. So it feels like you’re always on and always working but I sit here with a cup of tea as I record this and I am just so grateful for the opportunities I have.
As a mobile travel agent we can be working from anywhere and with laptops, phones and ipads these days, we don’t even need to have a specific office.
Which brings me to today’s topic Working from Home and whilst you are away. Staying focused and getting the most out of your day.
- Set a routine. Even if it’s having breakfast, shower and moving to another room. We all know what it’s like working in an office. You get there at 8:30 in the morning, you might leave at 5:00 in the afternoon, okay, in travel maybe not and a number of other professions, maybe not. But in general, we have work hours from 8:30 to 5:00 or 9 to 6 around those times. But we have a routine and we specifically have to get up every morning at the same time. We have to have our breakfast, pack our lunch maybe and get to the office and work. So I don’t think working from home is any different. I’ve got a number of things to share with you.
- Create goals. This helps to stay focused. If you are in an office you’ve got goals and a todo list. I always start with a big annual goal, what do I want to achieve for that year and that maybe an annual revenue target, it maybe a staffing goal, it maybe how many groups I want to send away, how many passengers I have but it’s about having a big goal. I then break those down into daily, monthly, quarterly and annually targets. I suggest if you don’t have a goal for your business, you really need to have a look at it. Is this something that you’ll be taking seriously and that you really want to do. To do list is part of your goals, breaking down your daily goal into a todo list, so it’s step-by-step. I recently attended a conference and heard Meg Salter talking about our to do lists, breaking them down into action lists. We all have a to do list right? Feels like its never-ending. When you look at it, it looks like there are alway 3-5 things that you need to do within every bullet point. Your list might be a 1 page and may turn in to 2 pages, it feels like it is never ending. Well Megs’ approach is to break it down and actually WRITE what the action is within that one thing. So for instance, you have a to do list in a client name.. You know in your head what that is, but you are leaving that box in your brain open and half thinking about that one name whilst you are doing other things, not allowing you to focus. So instead of what that person’s name is.. Write what the action that needs to be taken… Like you have “Jo Jansen” on your list, you know at the top of your head what that is however if you write down “call Jo Jansen to confirm dates and names are correct on itinerary and ticket before processing the credit card.” Yes you may be writing a little bit more, but once you have this out of your head you can then focus on the next thing. It also means that when you are glancing on your action list, you actually know what needs to be done! Everybody has goals, everybody has to do list just make sure you are turning it into action list so you know specifically what needs to be done, so you can close those little boxes off your brain and move on to the next task.
- Get out daily if you can. Working from home can be lonely, it can be isolating but it can also be very fulfilling. If you're working from home, for me when I first started I had to get out everyday I would drive 30 minutes to a shopping center or to a cafe or somewhere I needed to go just so I can be around people. For me over the years it has turned something into I drop my son off at daycare and I go grab a coffee. The people in the local cafes or my favourite coffee places they get to know me, I get to know them. It turns into my daily ritual and routine. When I work in an office I still did this, I go and grab a coffee before I actually sat down on my desk, so it was exactly the same thing and I'm treating my home office like a go-to place or a work office. So get out daily,It still is for me it was going and grabbing a cup of coffee - it still is. For other people it's about connecting and meeting with other people, going to the gym, doing to a group training, I also recommend wherever you possibly can attending industry events, not only you can meet your suppliers and other colleagues, but face to face you are going to build a relationships and establishing long-term connections with people. We all need human connection and by attending industry events or your company events even if they are online this is still a connection factor so make sure you're meeting people Because it can be lonely. Another thing to note here, make sure you are taking breaks. When you go into an office you've got people around you most of the times that you can look out from your desk and ask a question or you can turn to and say something funny or go out to lunch with. But when you're working from home you are often by yourself, You may have an animal to keep you company but they are not going to talk to you. So making sure you take breaks. For me it's getting up and putting a load of washing on, I recommend for some people not to do this Because i don't want you to get distracted When you're working from home you're not there to be the house cleaner and go do everything around the house that needs to get done. You are there working. But for me it was about and it still is if i get up and put a load of washing on or put a load of washing out it'll only take a couple of minutes however it gives me a block of time to work in. So I know a load of washing will take between 45 minutes and an hour and 20 minutes depending on what it is and that gives me a specific block to get a certain amount of work done. This is pretty archaic! When I look at people now within business coaching and entrepreneurs that are doing things worldwide and they've got specific timers on their computers (they call it tomato timers or pomodoro timers) and it specific blocks to get things done or they may lock themselves out of Facebook for an hour or shut certain programs on your computer. For me working from home, it may be the same for you, it may not, But getting up and putting a load of washing on means I have 45 minutes to an hour to get things done before I have to move on. This works for me it doesn't work for everybody, so find something that works for yourself.
- Work Space. Having a really good chair, lighting, desk, internet, it's important for you to have your own workspace even if it's the dining table when you're starting out And you clear it out in the evening and unpack it all up in the morning. Having that one workspace that you can go to each day and I do recommend investing in good equipment and technology especially with support if you need it and you're not tech focused or you don't like technology. If you're investing good equipment and sound internet and technology, it’ll support and help you make your job easier but having a good work space allows you to focus as well. You know that it's yours and you know that you can get there. Get stuff done and then get out. So if you're working from home and your dining room table is your work space, know that it's okay just make sure that you set it aside, you close it up if you can and put it away for the next day because really we don't live in an office. So your home and your office, if you can, make it as separate as possible.
- Make time for ‘Office Hours’. At the beginning it can be really hard. You need and want the business so you're working around the clock. You will be the 24/7 person That people and clients will try to call if they need something. I have really struggled with this for so many years And I was available at any time of the day or night, weekends, for my clients. I knew exactly what was going to happen at all times of the day and I was available. Now in real life if somebody is going to an office or a travel agent office or an office in general, they've got specific hours. I know it can be hard with the internet and if you’ve got clients that are checking what you’re doing and checking what the internet is doing but if you can I would recommend setting some sort of office hours because remember you've only got one life We are here for a very short time (I know that's quite deep) but family and friends are importantAnd so is self care. You will burn yourself out if you're available at all times of the day or night. I speak from experience, I don't want you to get into a situation where you don't love what you do anymore you just wish that you can go back to an office. Working from home and being your own boss is so rewarding it gives you so many opportunities and it gives you a life that you can create anything that you want. If you're setting yourself at time and some days even if it's just in your head and you communicate this to some of your travel clients Then it will give you the opportunity to do the stuff that you want and it'll make your life so much easier. So making sure that you have some kind of an office time is really helpful. For me now I have expressed to my clients that I'm not going to be working until I drop my son off at daycare or almost school. And then I finish at 5 o’clock so that I can pick him up. This time is really important to me, my family is important to me and my friends are important to me and I don't want to miss anything that I don't have to. So if you're setting yourself office times just make sure that you will communicate it wherever you can.
- ‘Pajama’ Work days. I want you to take it seriously. Build a business that you can really be proud of, you can be focused on. And being in pajamas, it’s what you’ve just woken up in. So why would you then work in that? Would you do that if you’re going to an office? Probably not unless it’s one of the specific day but why would you do that for yourself? Now i'm not saying you need to put a full on makeup and do your hair everyday, if you want to, that’s okay. Do what you would normally do by going in an office but I do suggest making the effort. You are running a business, so treat it like one. Get serious about it, you don’t have to be on your pajamas, even if you’re getting up, having a shower and putting on some tracksuit pants or sweatpants (if you’re from America). It's about, yes, being comfortable but it's also about treating your business seriously. If you are in your pajamas, really, it’s not taking your business seriously.
Working from home may be easier for some than it is for others and if it is a challenge for you and these tips don’t necessarily help you, it’s okay. There are co-working spaces, working in a cafe or library, some even work together with other agents and go group together and have cluster meetings, whatever works for you. Just know that working from home can be rewarding, also challenging but having a plan and daily routine working exactly like you would when you are in an office and taking it seriously can be very rewarding. Either way, it’s your life, design it as you need and do whatever works for you.
You don’t have to follow the norm, you don’t have to follow the industry, you don’t have to follow what I tell you to do. You have your own business, you are working for yourself, you can do things just as you want to do.
So what do you daily to keep you on track?
I would love to know, I would love to know what works for you.
Now don’t forget we have all sorts of goodies on our website, we have downloads, checklists and worksheets from previous episodes so head on over to travelagentachievers.com check them all out.
If you have any questions, please let me know and I would love to know what do you do? Tell me what is it that you do to stay on track. These are my top tips working at home and it has what has worked for me over the last 10 years but it’s not for everybody.
If you want to hear about anything that we do at Travel Agent Achievers make sure to subscribe, send us a review, send me a note on Instagram and Facebook. That’s it from me, quick tips from Fiji, top 5 things with a bonus of 6 that you can do when you’re working from home. Things to make things easier for you!
So have an awesome and wonderful week wherever you are in this amazing world of ours, I do hope that you get to go out and explore it as much as you possibly can. Spend time with your family and friends, life is short.
Enjoy everybody! I am checking out from Fiji, I’ll talk to you next week!
Bye for now.
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