Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a freelancer working from a home office, overtime hours are likely a companion you’ve come to accept as a part of the job. Individuals pursuing nontraditional career paths must often put in more than eight hours a day to reach their goals. However, overtime can be used as your opportunity to earn more and eventually work less. Take advantage of it properly, and take a glance at the following tips on how to maximize overtime hours as a self-employed worker for a few suggestions that may help you put your time to more productive use.
Tip #1: Focus on earning more. In other words, your overtime hours in the office should actually produce earnings for you, either immediately or in the future. Leave menial tasks to your regular work hours.
Tip #2: Tune in. If you are concentrating on earning more and working less as a result of your efforts, it is essential to hone in completely on your work during overtime when possible (and when doing so does not interfere too severely with your family life). Turn off the phone, ignore emails, don’t answer the door…do whatever it takes to pack as much quality work into your overtime as possible.
Tip #3: List your most important tasks when overtime begins. As soon as you have entered into what you officially consider overtime hours for the day, stop for a moment and make a list of your priorities for the rest of the working session. Staying in the office late to finish up tasks from the day can take longer than necessary if the extra time invested is not planned out correctly. Start with your highest priority and work your way down, no exceptions.
Tip #4: Set a mini-deadline. Giving yourself an entire evening or weekend to accomplish your remaining tasks will inevitably lead to procrastination. Set a reasonable time line in which you can accomplish your goals with concentrated work.
Tip #5: Add unfinished tasks to the next day’s work, and come in early to complete them. When tasks are not completed within your set time line, consider putting them aside until the next morning. After so many hours of concentration the mind becomes dull, meaning that our work is not as sharp and crisp as it should be. Coming back the next day may reduce the amount of time spent on tasks that would have gone on endlessly the night before.
Tip #6: Consider working earlier as opposed to later. Again, the mind becomes dull after so many hours of intense concentration, meaning that overtime work may occur more often than necessary because it is not as productive as it should be. Putting in your best hours in the early morning, when your mind is refreshed and before the family is awake, may increase the return on your efforts.
Tip #7: Be a demanding boss. Working overtime in general tends to give self-employed workers a feeling of increased productivity, but such a feeling can be ungrounded. Make it a point to take note of what you actually accomplish with your overtime hours, other than merely putting in the time.
Tip #8: Delegate and reassign. If you work from home, chances are you have family members who are not only eager to be with you, but also available and willing to help you finish your work quickly. You may wish to consider asking for help in the family office, and by doing so make it possible to kill two birds with one stone. If family is not available or willing, consider hiring a personal/virtual assistant who can handle a long list of tasks within a short time frame (personal/virtual assistants specialize in excellent time management, and are often quite worth the small financial investment). As a result, you’ll be free to pursue tasks that directly affect your bank account.
Keep in mind that the point of overtime as a self-employed worker or entrepreneur is to eventually maximize profits while minimizing the time investment involved each day. Understanding your main goal will naturally lend itself toward increased productivity during the after-hours.