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How to Manage Yourself When You Don’t Have a Boss.

We at Gutsy Creatives love podcasts. One of our recent favorites is WorkLife with Adam Grant: A TED original podcast.

As Adam says, “You spend a quarter of your life at work, so shouldn’t you enjoy it?”

An organizational psychologist, Adam takes us inside inside some of the world’s most unusual workplaces to discover the keys to better work. His “A World Without Bosses” episode featured Sue Ashford, a Management Professor at University of Michigan. Sue shared incredible insights on how to motivate yourself when you work independently. Here’s some of her best tips:

Tip 1. Find a place to work where you will be productive.

Perform your work in a place you like. This can be at home in the bed or out traveling. It may be any time during day time or maybe at night when you are most comfortable. Your productivity will soar, you’ll love your profession and will give your best output.

Tip 2. Form habits around a regular schedule.

As Sue says, “One way that makes sense to me is to do it like a bricklayer.” Without a team surrounding you, there’s no one to make sure your work gets done. Habits can act as a safety mechanism to keep you on track. Take it brick by brick. If  you lay a certain number of bricks everyday, you’ll make steady progress.

Tip 3. Maintain ongoing interaction with people important to you.

It’s crucial to keep in contact with people who offered encouragement and direction, especially if you work independently. At some point of time and at some point of view we all need the help and encouragement to accomplish our work. The people you keep community with may not be a traditional work team. They may be other freelance friends, an online community or even your clients. Make sure there are people in your work life you can lean on, just as you do in your personal life.

Tip 4. Keep your work’s purpose front of mind.

Remind yourself regularly of the purpose behind your work. Why are you doing this? Why should it be done at all? Staying connected to the meaning behind your work provides a great of motivation. Purpose may get lost in the day to day tasks. Consider writing yourself a post-it note with a simple statement of the impact you seek to make and stick it where you can see it every day.

Want to listen to the full Worklife podcast episode?

Listen to WorkLife Episode 7 on iTunes.

Read a the full Podcast transcript on LinkedIn!


Kelsye Nelson

Author and world traveler, dedicated to helping artists and creative entrepreneurs achieve the life of their wildest dreams. 

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March 29, 2020

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