Making Your Success Schedule Work for You

A well-planned work schedule — like the one we talked about last week — is an essential part of your success strategy.

But it’s not enough.

A schedule’s like a map. It shows you where you’re going and the best way to get there. But it won’t work if you don’t look at it.

And follow it.

So today, we’re going to look at some of the most common distractions that can knock you off your path to success … and how to avoid them.

Your Most Serious Distraction: You …

Let me tell you a little tale about a much younger Will Newman and his cousin.

We were young and daring in those days and had decided to backpack the John Muir Trail in the Sierra Nevada.

We started out in early June and quickly encountered snow on the trail. But we kept going. After about an hour, we had no idea where we were. Being young and daring (see above!) we didn’t turn back. We went on ahead using our map and compass to guide us.

Since I'm here writing this to you, you know we made it. We did it by constantly checking our map.

You have to do this too. You have to check your schedule every day to make sure you’re following it. This is why I say you are your biggest distraction on the path to success.

It's easy to make the excuse: “Well, not today. Tomorrow.” There'll be dozens of reasons not to follow your schedule. Few of them are more important than your final goal of copywriting success.

Stick to your schedule!

Your Next Biggest Distraction …

Your family can be a great support in your journey to success. And one of your biggest distractions.

As soon as you hang up your schedule, show it to all family members. Tell them why you work at home. Tell them about how nice it is to not have to commute, and how you enjoy setting your own hours, and making the money you deserve to help out the family.

Show them your schedule with work and non-work times clearly marked. Get all your family to agree that during work times, you’re in your office. It’s exactly the same as if you were 10 miles away and not available.

Children can present more of a challenge. My friend Lori Haller — one of the very best direct-mail graphic designers — built her career while raising three young children. Here’s what she advises …

Set rules for children about when it’s important to be quiet. Stick with it. No exceptions.

Get your children interested in what you do. Lori had her boys color, draw, or decorate file folders for her. She talked to them about business and showed them what she was doing.

Lori suggests having older children help smaller ones with simple tasks like picking up toys. Or have them read with the little ones. Just 30 minutes of their help each day makes all the difference in the world. It also teaches each family member how to be a part of a team, work together, and complete a task together.

Outside Distractions That’ll Push You Off Course …

• Email and social media

Email’s a great productivity-enhancer. And a huge time-sapper. Do a quick first-check of emails in the morning. Then schedule two or three other times in the day to check again. Read only work-related email during your work time.

Same with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and all other social media. Only check them once a day — after your work time. If you do it first thing in the morning, you’re increasing temptation to deal with them when you should be working.

• The phone

If you work at home, everyone feels he can call you about every imaginable subject, none of which is work related. Adopt the mental attitude that you’re at work. Lose the automatic “I have to answer it” response.

Use Caller ID and/or screen all calls with an answering machine. If the call isn’t work related (or a REAL emergency), let the message machine answer it. If you’re at work in an office, you’re not supposed to have personal calls. So do not let this time-sucker ruin your productivity.

• TV and radio

Do not take TV breaks during work time. Period. TV’s addictive. Avoid radio programs that get you talking back to them. Use radio or music as background to keep you from feeling isolated.

• Housework, building projects, “honey do” lists

This is a matter of your attitude. You’re at WORK. If you were working in a traditional office, you wouldn’t be able to clean the bathroom or do an oil change in the middle of the day. So you CANNOT do things like that if you’re in your home office either.

The Core Secret to Work-At-Home Success

There’s really only one thing that’ll determine if you stay on track for success. Your attitude.

No one will take your working at home seriously unless you do. Make that schedule we talked about last week. As soon as it’s done and posted, make a vow to yourself. “I’m going to stick to this schedule. I’m going to stay on the path to success. I won’t let everyday distractions push me off.”

Ignore those distractions that suck you dry. Good luck. And let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear from you.

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Published: July 13, 2012

2 Responses to “Making Your Success Schedule Work for You”

  1. Thank you for contributing this article. I really appreciate your point of view.

    In the past, I have been harangued by telephone calls from sales reps, friends, relatives and so on.

    It got to the point where I was not able to get any work done.

    My productivity suffered and was an all time low.

    So, I began to lock myself in a room and stopped picking up the phone.

    Just because the phone rings it does not mean you have to answer it, after all.

    You should continue to do your work despite such distractions. So true.

    Archan Mehta

  2. Will - Thank you for this well-written article. I am a unemployed social worker who can't get a(nother) 'regular' job no matter how hard I try. Before I lose another house, I'm going to do what I've been wanting to do for many years -- be who I am and work from my own home. People like you are a true encouragement. Thank you again! :-)

    Barb Drewry

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