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readings.by.mia  readings.by.mia is offline
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Seeking for advice from full time readers :)


Hi there! I have a situation right now. Fortunately, I've got to achieve my dream of being a full time reader (yay!) and I'm really very happy about it, however, now that I'm self employed and I work at home and many hours with the computer, I'm noticing that I'm having a hard time setting boundaries between home and work. As well, I spend a ton of time procrastinating and I have problems sticking to a schedule, since I can't really know when will I have more readings. As well, I usually end up tired and it comes a point when I can no longer give a good reading.

Besides that, I feel guilty whenever I take a day off. Has someone gone through this? Any advice for my situation?

Many thanks in advance
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Yes. Force yourself.

I know that sounds so simple, but you must. Make a to do list (the best people do) and start early in the day. Set your alarm clock if you must and get to the office at a set time. (I know the office is in your home but you still must GET to it.) Then do the to do list and cross things off as you get to them.

It take will power to do it but you must. Schedule your reading time. Get to know WHEN people are most likely to want a reading and schedule accordingly. What system do you work on? If it is a drop in set up, then set your hours when you will be available and stick to the schedule. People actually WANT to know when you are scheduled. If you post a schedule, people will work with it.

YOU have to set your boundaries and keep to them. No one else will do it for you. So if you need a day off, schedule it. And TAKE IT without feeling guilty.

When you work for someone else, they set up the structure of the work. When you work for yourself, you must set up your own structure. Do it and you will be MUCH more productive.

I hope that helps.
barb
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Barb's advice is very good.

I think what you are feeling is very common among people who work from home. I remember feeling guilty when I wasn't working. Now I'm just part time, and it's going well.
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I read and do energy clearings and shamanic work from home. I used to read in a shop. It is definitely more difficult to set boundaries when you work from home: there are always plenty of distractions available, and you may have clients asking you for readings when perhaps you had planned to just have some down time. But if you want to read long and prosper, you absolutely have to set boundaries, for yourself and for your clients.

Bear in mind that you do not want to be one of the many readers who burn out after a year or two because they do not give themselves enough time to rest and recuperate. You need to have a life of your own, and that is harder to do when you don't go off to an office and come home and unwind after your workday is ended. If you are feeling guilty about taking a day off, think how guilty you would feel if you just burned out altogether and had to tell your clients that you would no longer be available for them. You are not just doing this for you, you are doing it for your clients, so that you can give them the rested, happy, spot-on version of you, not the tired, burned out, crabby one who doesn't read all that well.

Then there is the question of response time. Do you allow yourself ample buffer time to deliver the reading back to the client? It's a good thing to train your clients not to expect an instantaneous response from you. I used to jump to respond to an email from a client as quickly as I could. After a while, I found that if I even waited a few hours to reply, they would email me again, wondering what was wrong becauseI usually emailed them back right away. Nowadays I usually wait at least a day or two before I reply. I just emailed a new client who was interested in some energy clearings and in my initial email, I told her that I am generally booked out two weeks or so in advance. That way, the client won't expect that the work will be done immediately (but if it turns out that you have time and can do it sooner, they are delighted).

One other thing that helps me is that I have set days when I am reading and set days when I am not, and I stick to those days. There was a time when I would just be like, "Oh, this is one of my favorite clients and she just has a question or two, and after all, I love to read, so even though I promised myself this would be my day off, there's no reason why I can't just do a quick reading for her," and then an hour later I would be mad at myself for working on my day off. However you receive requests: email or via your website or whatever, do not even look at them on your day off. If you needed to go in to an office to receive the requests, no one would expect you to run in on your day off or at 10PM just to see if someone had emailed you. Your clients will work with whatever schedule you set.

If you tend to procrastinate, it's helpful to cue your brain so it knows when you are in work mode. All of my client work takes place in my reading area, which is separate from the areas where I eat, sleep, relax, etc. Even if it's just a card table in the corner, designate it as your work space and don't do anything else there. If you have to use a table that you also use for other purposes, lay down a special cloth or light a candle that you only use when you are working. And that reminds be: Call it "working," not "reading." That gives your brain a verbal cue that this is work time, not Tarot playtime.

It's helpful to alert your brain using more than just your sense of vision: provide cues that you are at work through your other senses, as well. When I am heading up to work, I make a cup of Monk's Blend tea, a blend that I only drink when I am working. Another person I read about chews a flavor of gum that is her "work" flavor. You might designate as your work cue a particular pen or pair of slippers, a special aromatherapy blend, perfume, or a CD. This really does help your brain to be like "Okay, I get it, we're at work, no fooling around."

I love working from home, but it does have its own special challenges—hope this helps!
Top   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by readings.by.mia View Post
I spend a ton of time procrastinating and I have problems sticking to a schedule, since I can't really know when will I have more readings. As well, I usually end up tired and it comes a point when I can no longer give a good reading.
Here's the thing.
If you procrastinate a lot, and then a lot of readings come in, then you have no time nor energy for anything else, right?
So you have to get your stuff out of the way first (instead of procrastinating) because otherwise you may not get to it - especially not if readings are keeping you busy.

The way that you accomplish not procrastinating might look different for you, as many people have differing strategies. I tend to use a timer.
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I'm retired so I like to schedule readings at a time that's best for the client because I know most people are working or they live in another country or other things that keep them busier than I am. I can make it more convenient for them that way. This is the internet era, so since I read for people all over the world as we all do. Many times my night is the clients day. I'm retired so that leaves me the freedom to be flexible.

I have a portable file and I write down all my readings. I keep a file for each client. It's better for me this way. I don't remember each reading I've done in great detail, so if a client says "remember this reading you did for me?" I have a reference to go back to. I've just started doing this because I got tired of trying to refer back to stuff that's buried in my emails, etc.
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Apollonia mentioned something very important: response time. I make people wait a WEEK between booking the reading and getting read. That is deliberate. It makes them think about what they want to KNOW. When they call you, they are desperate: Their boyfriend just walked out, their credit card bill just arrived and it is huge, etc. But the answer that is there is not necessarily the answer they WANT. So they are dissatisfied. By making them wait, they have a chance to think about things, put the emergency in prospective. And come to you with a more open mind. You can give them the 411, not the 911 (Information, not emergency help.) It will make it easier.


barb
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I work from home, by appointment. A great thing about advanced booking is that it lets you plan around the work that does come to you so you know when you can do your grocery shopping and other errands as well as when you can take a guilt free personal day. And when you have a day or week that you want off for whatever reason, you simply black it out of your calendar and schedule around it. Never feel guilty that you weren't there to get back to someone who tried to last-minute book you and don't be afraid to say no to short notice. I also never explain why I can't give someone the booking time they request, I don't want to set expectations that they are entitled to my privacy. In the long run, your business and client relationships will be healthier.
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Thank you all for the suggestions, some of them were really good and helpful when it comes to face to face appointments. I've also found something that could help someone else and I've been using it for a few days with great results when I'm on the sms line. It's called "Pomodoro Technique". It consists of setting a countdown of 25 minutes, during those 25 minutes you can do nothing but the thing you're doing, in this case, answering sms queries. When the alarm rings you can take 5 - 7 minutes to check your phone, go to the toilet or whatever clears your mind and then 25 minutes of intense concentration again. I've found it really good because it's easy to commit to be focused on something for 25 minutes and it has helped me procrastinate less
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I don't work as a professional reader but I work at home as a freelance web developer/graphic designer. Pomodoro is one such thing you can use to manage your time... but a lot of it is habits, rituals, life management skills and obviously discipline.

I use Toggl for monitoring my time on a desktop app and it tracks what I'm doing on my computer (including procrastinating) so I find that that can help with creating a sense of accountability in your methods.

Other suggestions: Dress like a professional, even put on make up, even if just at home by yourself. Establish morning rituals. Establish an exercise schedule like walking for an hour or so daily out in the open air always clears my mind and helps to heal my focus. Keep a solid sleep schedule. If you have any health issues, make sure that you are being properly treated and that you try to take your pills at the same time. Certain medications don't like being taken at the different times each day... even things like vitamins may need to be separated... especially things like sleep medications or sleep aids, this is an issue. Sleep at the same time daily if you can.

Truthfully, it's discipline. You need to set boundaries in your home, in your space, on your computer and in your own mind that encourages certain behaviorial patterns. Dress, talk and act like a professional. Perhaps decorate your office using certain colors and use particular scents of incense when you start working (this is what I do). Being in touch with those who share your field is very important too, as it is very isolating to work a field and not have connection with those who also do the same type of work... so make a phone call (preferably) over email. Try to meet in person with other people who work your field. Find a local guild or group. Meetup.com is an option.

Sometimes the mind is too active and if you're sitting at the computer a lot, you need a little bit of background noise or something to keep the focus. I have downloaded an app for my computer that makes typewriter noises and it helps to build focus when I am writing code. I also listen to news, music, and will occasionally take intellectual breaks... like go somewhere and post some writing or I'll take a Twitter break.

Anyway, don't make it miserable. Decorate your office, a place for everything and change your environment, your habits to reflect who you desire to be and how you want to portray yourself when dealing with others. After all, you are the primary product... the reader. So take care of yourself too... EAT RIGHT. Eat consistently. Don't skip meals because you're being too productive. Establish a pattern of breaks. Make sure you move and get at least 30 minutes of cardio (like walking)!!! (This gets rid of a lot of the restlessness). Last thing you need to do is feel like a shut-in. Buy a pair of noise cancelling headphones if you have to if your home has other people in it to establish "space" in your head.

Eating has a lot to do too with moods. Drink lots of fluids (real water, not soda). I carry a water bottle with me on errands. If you're on a high sugar diet, this can add significantly to mental lethargy. If you're binge-ing on coffee to stay awake or focused, switch to water and b-50/b-100 pills. These are B vitamins essential for energy (b-50 is base but b-100 is more of the same vitamins pretty much). My PCP recommended them to me, and I find that I don't really need caffeine to function to a high level anymore with proper supplementation. My multi-vitamin includes it now, but if you take it separately you maybe need it for a few days and can quit until you're deficient again (it's not necessary everyday at all if you eat right). Add more magnesium to your diet. Magnesium malate supplements also helps with anxiety and nervous energy if you have that issue and it also prevents muscle spasms for sitting in the same spot for too long of a period. I use Magnesium spray for this in place of medication which works wonders for muscle spasms and back pain. I used to need anti-spasmadic medication but quit this outright with magnesium supplement, the spray and making sure my nutrition is top notch. Chocolate cravings are a big sign you are mag deficient. If you are still craving sweets, get more fruits (natural sugars), antioxidants, etc in your system... my favorite are blueberries and I leave them in the fridge and snack a little bit at a time. Protein bars (and drinking protein in general) are GREAT for a meal replacement if in a time crunch, but be careful as they do tend to make them with a lot of sugar. You can make them on your own fairly easily though, but they make you feel full and they help with craving reduction. Protein is good for this in general... like eating steak meats, etc .

If you eat garbage and don't take care of yourself, you can expect that eventually it will kick your butt. The problem with being at home, everything is within reach. This means every snack and junkfood in the house. You may need to get rid of soda and limit what you keep around. If you can, make a bento box at home and prepare meals days in advance. My husband cooks his chicken on the grill weekly and will make meals with rice and vegetables that he takes with him daily as he rarely sits down at work and he works a very physical job as a detention officer in mental health. It is very common to overwork yourself when working at home, so yes... take breaks. This can lead to longer than expected gaps of procrastination as you spend your time in a thought bubble trying to get your body and mind back on track...

There's a site called creativelive.com I will sometimes watch when I am working. It's targeted towards entrepreneurial women (mostly creatives), but they have a lot of free courses (their schedule changes daily) that you can watch on repeat until the course goes back pay and they'll often talk about overcoming these obstacles... but sometimes just nice for me to have on another screen or on my tablet when working and the "focus" that these classes encourage inadvertently help me with my own work. Even if I am not following along with the instructor, I learn a new skill and I keep my mind from driving itself crazy...

I keep a written calendar too. I find that jotting down what I did that day, no matter how mundane, helps to reinforce my perspective and progress in life... and also helpful for doctors visits and when tax time rolls around to have my work expenses so I know where to find an expense/trip...

Edit: Oh and if you have issues with meal planning (as I do) due to finnicky GI issues... take a probiotic... they not only help you from getting sick, but they help to improve a lot of things. Many of us should be taking probiotics when on antibiotics, so it's common for there to be some imbalance sometimes... it can help with reducing cravings substantially as your digestion will be much better. This means less breaks, less distractions (from your body) and much more time and energy to focus on what you need to. Anyway, taking care of your body is so important as it you are now the place of business...
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