Timo Kiander, creator of the blog Smart Productive Work, helps entrepreneurs improve their online business productivity. He’s also an author and a coach.
With over 15 years of experience in the IT industry, he discovered a passion for personal productivity in 2007 and eventually started the blog in 2010. Living in Finland with his family, he’s also deeply into endurance sports, including marathons, duathlons, and triathlons.
Why are distractions such a problem for people working in conventional and home offices?
It becomes a problem when it prevents you from getting your important work done. There are always going to be distractions, no matter in which environment you work.
Even if you block out all the external distractions, your “inner blabber” will make sure that you get distracted anyway.
I would like to emphasize that distraction, especially if it takes you away from your important work or from your goals, is definitely something you should fight against.
Then again, interruptions are part of the work, even if you are working by yourself from home.
For people who want to become entrepreneurs but can’t afford to leave their day jobs, how can they find time to build their businesses?
I would say you should really look closely at your commitments first, and then eliminate the ones that don’t make sense to you.
Then, it’s also a matter of finding those “hidden hours”.
For instance, when I was working full-time, those hours were early in the morning. Even now, I still utilize those moments, because that means distraction-free time for myself.
To find those distraction-free hours, question if you really need to watch that TV series, or hang out online, late at night. Because, the earlier you get to bed, the earlier you rise, and you can then spend that newfound time on your own projects.
It’s also a matter of defining times when you are doing work during the weekends. This matters, especially if you have a family.
Also, have a plan for each day (in a form of a task list). This way, you know the tasks you should focus on.
Finally, eliminate as many tasks off your task list as possible, and really try to find the biggest focus points in your work.
How has your life changed since you left your corporate career in software engineering?
I have been able to focus on my projects much better, since I have more time available.
I can focus on the things which bring me joy: My family, sports, and writing.
What helps you stay productive when it comes to writing and publishing books?
Really putting the writing as my #1 priority of the day. This way, I do the writing and book-related work early in the morning, and I can focus on other things in the afternoon.
What are ways that personal coaching can help people beyond the usual tools of books, forums, courses, etc?
The personal touch to things.
Books, courses and such are for the masses. However, with personal coaching, you get advice tailored to your own situation, and the advice can be much more precise than you learn from a course.