Don’t get me wrong, technology is great. I love the fact that I can work remotely and easily talk to all my friends as if they were sitting next to me. I like the fact that with the click of a button I have any type of information accessible within seconds.
But yet, I sometimes feel like technology is invading my life.
Technology and Being an Online Entrepreneur
I absolute love the lifestyle of being an online entrepreneur, I can work wherever and whenever I want. To work the only thing I need is my laptop and an internet connection, which is great because my laptop easily fits in a small bag and in the year 2015 there is free WiFi everywhere.
All the income I can generate all relies on technology, it is how I communicate with my audience, how I push content on the internet and how I plan future projects. There is so much information, and we often expose ourselves to too much information.
When we are starting out our business we often want to read everything about our industry, this is good, but also a big time waster. Focus is important, and technology has made it a lot harder to stay focused as there simply is too much distraction.
To be a successful online entrepreneur, we need to be able to filter on what is important and not allow yourself to be distracted by all the noise around us.
The Importance of Off-time
When you are engaging in an online business, it is likely that you spend a substantial amount of hours building your business. Especially when you are in the first stages of building your business, long days or midnight sessions quickly creep in. It is important to give you time off technology.
You see, technology is not only affecting your work-life but also your personal life. With the current state of technology, you could easily check metrics of your online business while having dinner with your family, but should you want that? I don’t think so.
But the same goes for your personal life, you could spend an entire day working on your business and continuing using technology to absorb other random (unimportant) information during your own time. Our personal lives are filled with (continuous) participation of social media and not so pertinent information.
Cherish your time off a screen and spend more time with your family and the people you care about. Use the extra time to develop yourself and to learn a new skill. Technology is not everything.
How to give yourself Off-time
Giving yourself off-time is not always easy. The biggest advantage of working online can also be one of the greatest disadvantages. If you work in a restaurant, the moment your shift ends, and you set foot outside the door, work is finished. Online businesses do not share similar characteristics; you can always do more if you want or if you feel that you need to. But you want to maintain good relations with the people you care about, you don’t want to burn out, run out of inspiration or lose interest altogether. Discipline and clear guidelines are important.
Personally I sometimes also struggle with off-time, and I notice the negative impact technology could have on my life. Recently this has become even more evident as Teresa also is in the process of starting an online business. Based on my personal experiences I have put together some actionable tips that could help you to reduce any negative impact an online business could have.
1. Follow a clear schedule
Make a plan for when you dedicate time to work on your business and when is family time, stick to this schedule. Of course, you can allow yourself a different schedule for special occasions such as a big launch or an important client, but, in general, you should be able to stick to this schedule. Communicate this schedule clearly with your spouse and the people around you.
2. Focus is everything
The level of success we achieve with almost anything life depends on the degree of focus we have, at least based on my experiences. Don’t do half-baked things, like ever. If you are in your dedicated time to get some work done, get some work done, is it relax time, relax. Don’t do two things at the same time as you will end up doing neither thing well.
So for example, during work time don’t do anything to relax, no social media distractions or anything that is not the core of your business. When you have family time, focus on them and don’t even think about quickly posting that social update of your latest post.
Concentrate on the task or activity that you are doing. If you are out for dinner and drinks, focus on the people you are with, you don’t need to absorb information all the time.
3. Be very selective
The Internet is massive, and there is an infinite stream of information to absorb. If you wanted you, could check everything all the time and never finish. Be selective of what matters to you, this ties in with the previous point. So let’s say that you are starting a blog or personal website, you could check a lot of different metrics, but do they matter?
Tropical U.P is still a growing website, the only metric I check at the moment is Google Analytics, and I only do so in the morning. I quickly review visits and page views and the source of visitors. If my business is more established, I could image only to check email subscribers.
If you are following industry blogs, don’t follow any blog you can find but only follow a few. Don’t be active on all social media but use the one that your audience uses.
4. Cherish yourself
I need my peace, and I need dedicated time off a screen to maintain my sanity. Because I already spend so much time during the day behind my laptop to build my online business, I am often easily annoyed by my phone at night. Message Apps make me very nervous and sometimes I need to shut them down.
Cherish you own off-time, give yourself sometime off-screen. Read a book, talk about the day with your spouse, do some exercise and fully focus on the people around you. You deserve it, and the internet can do a few hours without you.