I Made Two Changes This Week That Helped My Work Balance
Entrepreneur, solopreneur (or other terms people have thought up to describe those of us who work alone from home), can be a soulless existence. For me on the one hand, I get to be alone, which I love; I am antisocial, I like my own company and that of my animals, and my disability means there is no way I could be reliable with a full-time job in the office. That’s why I started this gig about 15 years ago and I haven’t looked back. But on the other hand there is no one to bounce off, check ideas with or keep me going. I have never lacked motivation but I have noticed that sometimes you can fall into bad habits that knock productivity without realising it.
This week I stumbled on two changes, and I am so glad I made them! Super simple, yet my happiness factor has gone up, and I find I get less distracted by these two small things…
So as the suspense is no doubt killing you (haha, ok, I know my life is just not that interesting), it is time to tell you what I did.
I Switched Up the Background Noise
I have to confess to being an avid Radio 2 listener for some time now. I fit the profile, the music is generally my kind of thing, and it passes the time of day better than silence. However, I hadn’t really thought about whether it disturbs me. I assumed it didn’t. I never seem to fail to get things done. But one thing I have noticed is that I am getting increasingly negative with each passing news report and the lunchtime drone show from JV is, well, let’s just say, not really for me. So this week, I decided to change. I cannot stand adverts, so commercial radio stations were out, so I started flipping through playlists on Amazon Music.
I have settled on a different one each day so far; today, I have the music of Hans Zimmer - a composer I admire and whose works from Pirates of the Caribbean I simply adore. The lack of chat, banter and traffic reports are actually sitting well with me. I like it. I discovered a few things I didn’t know about the great man; for example, did you know he is credited with the Muppets nonsense song Mana Mana? I did not! And who knew the battle music from Gladiator could be just as at home in Pirates - so much, so I had to look up at the Alexa screen to see what was playing.
Other playlists have included John Williams, show tunes and movie themes. All of which have offered a different environment than Radio 2. It certainly has shown me that a change really can be as good as a rest, and while I have loyally stayed with Radio 2 all day from Zoe to Sara, maybe for now, at least it is time to leave them behind.
Another thing I hadn’t given much thought to, but something that was actually taking more time than I realised, was junk mail. I am not talking spam filters here; that little tool does a great job. I am talking about the things we sign up for because we make a purchase or click the wrong button when browsing. It's nothing offensive and mainly sales, and I tend to let them come in and click delete. Never read them, but I also never considered it was affecting my day. This week I decided to hit unsubscribe every time one of these uninteresting mailings popped into my account.
Aside from a couple who wouldn’t let me unsubscribe (who will now filter to spam), it is getting a lot quieter in my inbox. And, yes, it is making a difference. I realise now that the incoming mail can be distracting, and generally, I would interrupt what I was doing and go and see who wanted what. Currently, there are longer periods of nothing happening, and my day flows better. Who knew something so simple would make a difference!
So there you have it! Two simple changes have improved my week, and I even found the time to write a blog which I have been meaning to do for ages! So clearly, my productivity improved too! What simple changes have you made that improved your working day?